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 46 years of experience in advancing the careers of STEM women. We are excited to meet you and travel with you on your commercialization journey.

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 free to accepted participants, thanks to funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation — the premier institution dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed.

How it works?

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

blank
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.

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. 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 Program

Washington DC Accelerator

April 28 – Application closes

May 8 – Selection announcements sent to accepted participants

May 15 – Orientation and first class

May 22 – Working groups and biweekly classes begin

May 29 – Biweekly open office hours begin

October 11 – In-person workshop in Washington, DC

November 2017 to March 2018 – Mentoring with entrepreneurs and investors

March 2018 – Graduation

Bay Area Accelerator

May 30 – Application opens

July 18 – Application closes

July 19 – Selection announcements sent to accepted participants

July 24 – Program begins

August 16 – Biweekly open office hours begin

December 1 – In-person workshop in San Francisco

January to May 2018 – Mentoring with entrepreneurs and investors

May 2018 – Graduation

Chicago Accelerator

August 1 – Application opens

September 5 – Application closes

September 18 – Selection announcements

September 18 – Program begins

March 2, 2018 – In-person workshop in Chicago

March to July 2018 – Mentoring with entrepreneurs and investors

July 2018 – Graduation

close all ↑

Requirements/
Eligibility

Requirements/Eligibility

To be eligible for the program, the applicant must:

$

Identify as a woman

$

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

$

Have STEM research that she wants to commercialize

$

Have already made some investment (time and/or money) in her 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

$

Commit to completing the curriculum and assigned tasks, meeting with her working group, attend the day-long in-person workshop, and complete at least 5 hours of mentoring with her paired investor mentor

Women leading established teams will be given preference; your team members will have access to the online training content and can help you complete the coursework.

We will create a cohort of eligible entrepreneur participants who are aligned in their goals and will all benefit from the same curriculum.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of the program?

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

  • 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 does it cost?

Through generous funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, STEM to Market is free to participants.

blank
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?
Women leading established teams will be given preference; your team members will have access to the online training content and can help you complete the coursework.
What does it cost?
Through generous funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, STEM to Market is free to participants.
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?

Washington DC Accelerator:

  • The program lasts ten months, from May 2017 to March 2018. The course content that runs May-September is primarily virtual; working groups in the region are welcome to meet in person if they’d like.
  • The in-person workshop will be held October 11, 2017 at 1 Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, DC 20008 with the remainder of the month conducted virtually;
  • November 2017 – March 2018 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.

Bay Area Accelerator:

  • The program lasts ten months, from July 2017 to May 2018. The course content that runs July-November is primarily virtual; working groups in the region are welcome to meet in person if they’d like.
  • The in-person workshop will be held December 1, 2017 in San Francisco with the remainder of the month conducted virtually;
  • January – May 2018 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.

Chicago Accelerator:

  • The program lasts ten months, from September 2017 to July 2018. The course content that runs September 2017 – January 2018 is primarily virtual; working groups in the region are welcome to meet in person if they’d like.
  • The in-person workshop will be held in February 2018 in Chicago with the remainder of the month conducted virtually;
  • March – July 2018 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?

Forty 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 with expert facilitators, as well as receive skills assessments that will inform their final roadmaps. 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.

close all ↑

A project of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) 1667 K Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006
 support@stemtomarket.org
(202) 588-8175

LET'S CONNECT

© 2017 Association for Women in Science. All Rights Reserved.

Share This