Activate and Propel Applications for Winter 2021 Open

Nov 9, 2020

At The Garage, we firmly believe that entrepreneurship and the opportunity to experiment with new ideas is for everyone, regardless of background, gender, race, or ethnicity. To bring us closer to this vision, we’ve worked closely with students and advisors to develop multiple programs aimed at ensuring all Northwestern students have access to resources to push their projects forward, including Propel and Activate.

We are excited to announce that Propel, open to all full-time female Northwestern students and Activate, open to all full-time Black Northwestern students, are both opening applications today. Both programs are held quarterly during the fall, winter and spring quarters. 

We’ve worked diligently to develop programs outfitted with the resources students need to succeed. Both Propel and Activate are focused on providing students with immersive learning experiences as they explore their entrepreneurial projects. Students admitted to Propel and Activate are offered personalized and thoughtful mentorship from industry professionals alongside a community of like-minded peers to meet with regularly (on Zoom). 

Audrey Wu, McCormick ’20 and a participant in Propel shared that, “through Propel, I've been able to talk to a variety of successful women alumni who shared their struggles and success stories. I am deeply inspired to create my own story and have renewed enthusiasm to work on my startup. The biggest takeaway for me was finding a group of like-minded women entrepreneurs at Northwestern.”

In addition to mentorship and community, both Propel and Activate offer a financial award of up to $1,000 to spend on an entrepreneurial project. Both programs are open to all Northwestern students, and students do not need to have participated in a program at The Garage to be eligible to apply. 

Both programs welcome all kinds of projects as long as a student has an idea they want to grow, and are not limited to tech ideas. For example, Nolan Robinson, SoC ’21, a participant in the summer pilot program of Activate, worked on Breakthrough, a not-for-profit mentorship program designed to give students from underserved communities pathways to pursuing careers in the arts. “I gained confidence in myself and discovered that although what I do may not ‘look’ like a typical startup, I am indeed an entrepreneur,” said Robinson.

Propel and Activate applications are open now. Propel applications for the winter 2021 quarterly cohort close on Sunday, November 15 at 11:59 PM CT and will be followed by a week of interviews. Activate applications for the winter 2021 quarterly cohort close on Sunday, November 22 at 11:59 PM CT.

Students or faculty and staff with questions about either program are welcome to email us at

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