The AWIS Accelerator

Turn your research into products that better the world

A Unique Program Tailored to the Needs of Women in STEM

You’ve toiled for years in the lab, and you finally have discovered something that would solve people’s problems… if only they had your technology in their hands. Join us and accelerate your progress towards a product ready for the public and a company built to grow.

STEM to Market combines your scientific expertise with the specialized knowledge, mentorship, and community you need to build a solid foundation and navigate the challenging technology transfer and start-up worlds. STEM to Market is the first accelerator produced by a company with 49 years of experience in advancing the careers of STEM women. We are excited to meet you and travel with you on your commercialization journey.

“Now I have a more realistic perspective of what I need and how to accomplish it. The accelerator has helped me focus my efforts and resources on topics that I had initially thought were not a priority; it has also given me the tools to create a more reasonable timeline. I know now what I need to accomplish in one year, two years and beyond.” – 2017-2018 DC Cohort Participant

During the program you will:

Receive customized commercialization training and support

Become part of a network and community of STEM entrepreneurs

Access mentoring and advising from successful entrepreneurs, investors, funders, and market experts

Develop strong connections to the investment community

The program is heavily discounted to accepted participants, thanks to funding from the U. S. Small Business Administration 2020 Growth Accelerator Prize Competition.

Applications Open for Our 2020 National Cohort Deadline Extended: 2/6/20

Powered by funding from the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and in partnership with SEED SPOT for our kickoff 2-Day Launch Camp, we are pleased to announce our fourth cohort. This 2020 cohort expands on our regional programming to offer our award-winning accelerator program to participants from across the United States!

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“S2M exposed me to so many diverse examples of how the path of entrepreneurship and commercializing a product or idea ‘looks’ for other women in STEM. Borrowing ideas from other participants’ triumphs and struggles has made the process more efficient for me.” – 2017-2018 Bay Area Cohort Participant

How it works

Our program has three stages: Foundation, Transition, and Collaborative Implementation.

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Foundation (five months)

During the Foundation stage, each cohort of participants will complete biweekly online training, related coursework, working group meetings and open office hours. Participants will be supported by program staff and a group of entrepreneurs, investors, and other experts that comprise our board of advisors.

Kickoff: We begin the accelerator by coming together as a cohort for a 2 Day Launch Camp on February 25 & 26 in Phoenix, AZ. S2M is proud to run this workshop in partnership with SEED SPOTNote: the 2DLC program fee is included in your S2M program fee but participants are responsible for travel costs.

Online Training: The training will be delivered through online video lectures from successful experts, entrepreneurs, and investors. The curriculum will be customized to each cohort and will cover the following topics: Vision, Market and Customer Discovery, Business Model, Finance, Legal (Intellectual Property and Incorporation), People, Product Development, Branding and Positioning, Sales and Traction, and Mentoring.

The time commitment for the online training will be roughly two hours biweekly.

Coursework: Assignments will accompany each week’s online content, pushing each entrepreneur to make progress related to that module’s topic. Participants will have about 8-10 hours of coursework to complete, not including online lectures, open office hours, or working group meetings.

Working Group Meetings: Each cohort will be matched into eight working groups, which will meet weekly for at least one hour. The working groups are a safe space for the entrepreneurs to think through the coursework tasks and get initial peer feedback about their work before assignments are due.

Open Office Hours: On weeks with no new module, members of our expert advisory board will hold office hours to answer questions, provide feedback, and check in with participants.

The total anticipated time commitment for the Foundation stage is 11-13 hours per week.

Transition (one month)

To transition to the Collaborative Implementation stage, participants will use knowledge gained during the prior five months of training to draft a preliminary commercialization action plan. Participants will then convene for a full-day, in-person workshop. Note: participants are responsible for travel costs. During this workshop, expert facilitators will help participants create roadmaps using their plans, market research, and assessments of the participants’ entrepreneurial skillsets. These roadmaps will be concrete plans for the next year, with key actions and partners necessary to take their research/technology to market. At the workshop, participants will also pair with an investor mentor, who will work with them during the Collaborative Implementation stage.

The total anticipated time commitment for the Transition stage is 16-22 hours total (6-12 hours to develop the preliminary commercialization action plan and 10 hours for the in-person workshop).

Collaborative Implementation (five months)
During the five months of this phase, participants will work on their commercializing their research/technology using the roadmaps designed earlier in the program. Program staff and advisory board members will continue to be a resource for the entrepreneurs. They will also meet with their investor mentor monthly to gain insight, expertise, and investment perspective on their progress. Participants will also share insights with their mentors on the challenges they see in the STEM entrepreneurship world.

The total anticipated time commitment for the Collaborative stage is 2-5 hours per week, plus more time depending on the action plan.

Timeline for 2020 Program

National-Level Cohort 2020

January 17, 2020 – Application opens

February 6, 2020 – Application closes

February 7, 2020 – Selection announcements sent to accepted participants

February 25-26, 2020 – In-person Kickoff – 2 Day Launch Camp in partnership with SEED SPOT in Phoenix, AZ

March 3, 2020 – Working groups, open office hours, and biweekly classes begin

July 2020 – In-person workshop and mentor mixer

July – December 2020 – Mentoring via collaborative implementation

December 2020 – Graduation

 

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Requirements/
Eligibility

Requirements/Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, the applicant must:

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Identify as a woman

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Have advanced training or experience in one or more STEM field(s)

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Have STEM research that they want to commercialize

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Have already made some investment (time and/or money) in their idea; examples include applying for a patent, interviewing potential customers, completing market research, finding a co-founder, participating in an I-Corps program, or other related work

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Commit to: completing the curriculum and assigned tasks, meeting with their working group, attending two in-person workshops, and completing at least 5 hours of mentoring with their paired investor mentor

“The program has always helped me work through obstacles and challenges and given me a space to share my struggles with other women going through the same experiences. The program has been key to helping me build my self-confidence and has motivated me not to give up on being a STEM entrepreneur.” – 2017-2018 Chicago Cohort Participant

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of the program?

STEM to Market: The AWIS Accelerator has three main goals:

  • provide training and support to women who are STEM entrepreneurs as they progress through their commercialization pathway of choice;
  • develop and strengthen a community and network of entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors; and
  • galvanize equitable, inclusive, and productive entrepreneurship ecosystems.

What is the time commitment of the program?

There are three stages of the program: Foundation, Transition, and Collaborative Implementation. We estimate Foundation requires 11-13 hours per week for five months. Transition requires 16-22 hours in two weeks, 10 of which is the in-person workshop. Collaborative Implementation requires 2-5 hours per week, plus more time depending on the participant’s plans.

What is the program timeline?

January 17, 2020 – Application opens

February 6, 2020 – Application closes

February 7, 2020 – Selection announcements sent to accepted participants

February 25-26, 2020 – In-person Kickoff – 2 Day Launch Camp in partnership with SEED SPOT in Phoenix, AZ

March 3, 2020 – Working groups, open office hours, and biweekly classes begin

July 2020 – In-person workshop and mentor mixer

July – December 2020 – Mentoring via collaborative implementation

December 2020 – Graduation

What does it cost?

The program application fee is $50. AWIS Members can apply for free. Application fees are applied to program registration fees upon acceptance to the program. Application fee waivers are available for those who cannot afford this fee. Email support@stemtomarket.org to learn more.

If accepted into the program, particpants pay a registration fee. To prevent financial barriers to participation, program registration fees are on a sliding scale based on income as follows:

  • Unemployed: $50
  • Up to $40K: $100
  • Up to $60K: $150
  • Up to $80K: $200
  • Up to $100K: $250
  • Over $100K: $300

The registration fee includes entry to our kickoff 2-Day Launch Camp, co-hosted by SEED SPOT in Phoenix, AZ on February 25-26, 2020. Participants are responsible for travel costs to Phoenix and for the in-person workshop during the Transition phase of the program (location TBD).

 

What if I am not accepted into the S2M Accelerator? How else can I be involved?

Even if you are not accepted to the accelerator, you are still welcome to attend the 2 Day Launch Camp co-hosted with SEED SPOT in Phoenix, AZ in February! We will also keep you on a list to keep you informed about updates and resources.

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What is AWIS?
Founded in 1971, the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is the largest multi-disciplinary and cross-sector organization supporting women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. From our policy work on the Hill to the research we conduct to the programming we offer, AWIS has a demonstrated record of advancing the success of women in STEM. For 46 years, AWIS has been driving positive change in systems and organizations through research-based advocacy, leadership and talent development, and best practices directed at broadening participation in STEM. With 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM and members, academic and corporate partners, allies, and supporters worldwide, AWIS is a powerful global partner for people and organizations seeking solutions to advance women’s contributions to science and society. Working for positive transformation, AWIS strives to ensure that women in all STEM disciplines and sectors are:

  • Compensated fairly and without discrimination
  • Advanced equitably and without bias
  • Exposed to successful role models in leadership positions
  • Recognized and respected for the scientific and leadership achievements
What are the goals of the program?

STEM to Market: The AWIS Accelerator has three main goals in each of our three locations:

  1. provide training and support to women who are STEM entrepreneurs as they progress through their commercialization pathway of choice;
  2. develop and strengthen a community and network of entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors; and
  3. galvanize equitable, inclusive, and productive entrepreneurship ecosystems.
How long is the program?
Ten months.
Who else is in the program?

We use participants’ applications to create a cohort who match each other in terms of entrepreneurial goals. Each cohort of participants will bring a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences to spark high-quality conversation, creativity, problem-solving, and support. Example cohorts may include but are not limited to: women who want to license their technology but have not yet applied for a patent; women who have completed an I-Corps program but have not yet received an SBIR grant; women who own biotechnology research; women who have incorporated a company.

Am I eligible?
You are eligible if you a) identify as a woman, b) you have trained in a STEM field or fields, or have substantial expertise, c) have your own research or technology that you would like to bring to market, d) have made some investment (time and/or money) towards commercializing your research or technology, and e) can commit to the time requirements of the program.
What is the time commitment of the program?
There are three stages of the program: Foundation, Transition, and Collaborative Implementation. We estimate Foundation requires 11-13 hours per week for five months. Transition requires 16-22 hours in two weeks, 10 of which is the in-person workshop. Collaborative Implementation requires 2-5 hours per week, plus more time depending on the participant’s plans.
Can my team participate?

Yes! If you are leading a team, your team members will have access to the online training content and can help you complete the coursework.

What does it cost?

The program application fee is $50. AWIS Members can apply for free. Application fees are applied to program registration fees upon acceptance to the program. Application fee waivers are available for those who cannot afford this fee. Email support@stemtomarket.org to learn more.

If accepted into the program, particpants pay a registration fee. To prevent financial barriers to participation, program registration fees are on a sliding scale based on income as follows:

  • Unemployed: $50
  • Up to $40K: $100
  • Up to $60K: $150
  • Up to $80K: $200
  • Up to $100K: $250
  • Over $100K: $300

Participants are also responsible for travel costs to Phoenix and for the in-person workshop during the Transition phase of the program (location TBD).

Do I get funding as a part of this program?
Although participants do not receive funding as a part of STEM to Market: The AWIS Accelerator, the program contributes time, resources, and connections to further the participants’ endeavors.
When and where is the program held?

National-level Cohort 2020:

  • The program lasts ten months, from February to December 2020, beginning February 25 with an in-person kickoff 2-Day Launch Camp in partnership with SEED SPOT in Phoenix, AZ.
  • The course content that runs March-July 2020 is delivered virtually over Zoom and is recorded to accommodate a range of schedules. The program also makes use of Slack for communication, resource sharing, and connection. Working groups are welcome to meet in person if they’re able to.
  • The in-person workshop and mentor mixer will be held in July 2020 with the remainder of the program conducted virtually;
  • July – December 2020 is for accomplishing the entrepreneurs’ road maps. Contact with working groups and the advisory board will primarily be online, with options to meet with your investor mentor virtually or in person.
What is the program like?
Twenty-five participants will be in each cohort, selected by program staff to create a community with similar commercialization goals. Each cohort will participate in three stages: Foundation (five months), Transition (one month), and Collaborative Implementation (five months).

In the Foundation stage, participants will view online lectures presented during the odd weeks of the program on topics related to STEM entrepreneurship. Participants will complete related assignments to further their progress. Participants will be placed into working groups with other participants to collaborate on assignments and get feedback and support from each other. These working groups will meet in person or remotely once per week. Members of an advisory board, comprised of founders, investors, and other experts, will host open office hours (virtually) during the even weeks of the program to provide another venue for feedback and expertise.

In the Transition stage, participants will draw on what they’ve learned during the Foundation stage to create a commercialization roadmap with detailed plans for next steps. Participants will convene at a day-long, in-person workshop where they will review and finalize these plans, practice pitches, and receive additional skills development from expert facilitators. At the end of the workshop, there will be an informal networking event where they will be paired with an investor mentor to work with during the Collaborative Implementation stage.

In the Collaborative Implementation stage, participants will execute on their roadmaps, continue to gather with their working groups, and meet at least one hour per month with their investor mentors. The program staff and advisory board members will continue to check in with and support the participants until graduation.

Why should I choose this accelerator?

STEM to Market: the AWIS Accelerator is a pioneering program created by AWIS, an organization with nearly half a century of experience in advancing the goals of women in science. Tailored to the needs of STEM-trained women seeking commercialization of their research, STEM to Market provides participants with a guided curriculum, an investor mentor, and a network of advisors to craft, support, and advance their entrepreneurship plans. Through flexible and holistic support, we work with our participants to set and meet their goals.

 “I really like the program’s flexibility and the one-on-one calls with advisory board members and the teaching team. I find the program extremely accommodating.” 

 

“Now I have a more realistic perspective of what I need and how to accomplish it. The accelerator has helped me focus my efforts and resources on topics that I had initially thought were not a priority; it has also given me the tools to create a more reasonable timeline. I know now what I need to accomplish in one year, two years and beyond.”

 

“S2M exposed me to so many diverse examples of how the path of entrepreneurship and commercializing a product or idea ‘looks’ for other women in STEM. Borrowing ideas from other participants’ triumphs and struggles has made the process more efficient for me.”

 

“The program has always helped me work through obstacles and challenges and given me a space to share my struggles with other women going through the same experiences. The program has been key to helping me build my self-confidence and has motivated me not to give up on being a STEM entrepreneur.”

 

“I now understand a lot more about the entrepreneur space and importantly the potential hurdles and obstacles for female founders in obtaining funding. I have ideas about how to develop a strategy for moving forward.”

 

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A project of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) 1667 K Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006
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