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Drexel Startups Fund

Drexel Startups Fund is a twice-yearly pitch competition that supports student startup ideas. Generous donations from Drexel alums and Yope, a non-profit organization supporting student entrepreneurs nationwide, provide funding for the program.

The competition is run by the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship and supported through its Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship team. The competition provides non-dilutive grants, mentoring, investor introductions, and incubation services to students for their startup ventures, with a preference for (though not exclusively for) promising senior, graduate, or post-graduate students.

The competition features a two-round pitch format. Select applicants will be invited to the first round, followed by a subset of those invited to the final round.


Applicants to the program can be from any major and include undergraduate seniors, graduate students, and post-graduate. We define post-graduate as someone having graduated within one year of the program application deadline.

How to participate

A Drexel student must be the founder or co-founder of the venture as designated by the criteria here. Read all rules and eligibility on that page before applying.

You can find the competition application here

Selection committee 

A Selection Committee comprised of Drexel faculty/staff and Drexel alums will meet to review applications and select the awardees. The Committee will recommend the awardees chosen for funding with the final selection made and confirmed by the Office of the Dean at the Close School. 

Specific selection criteria will be provided to the competitors. 


Up to sixty-five thousand ($65,000) may be awarded in this cycle to one or more competitors. Award amounts may vary depending on the decision of the Committee, and the Committee can also decide to not award any amount in any given selection cycle. 

Awarded competitors will also have access to mentorship, incubator space in the Baiada Institute and introductions to angel and venture capital funding from the university’s alumni network. 

Awards will be considered “prizes” as is typically done for programs such as entrepreneurship competitions and the awards will not have any equity ownership or debt implications. Awardees will receive funding following similar procedures for such awards and will be responsible for taxes on those awards. 

Spring 2024 Schedule

The competition features a two-round format, with all qualified applicants pitching in the first round, followed by a final round of pitches for those applicants selected to move on by the selection committee.

  • April 30, 11:59pm ET: Applications Due
  • Mid May: First round presentations
  • Late May or Early June: Final round presentations