by Elizabeth Savin ’25
On Tuesday, April 5, The Garage was thrilled to welcome President and CEO of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), Julienne Shields! Julienne was on a visit to tour other Chicago based universities, and made a special stop at The Garage to hand off the trophy for an award recently won by The Garage’s Propel program. Propel provides Northwestern women student founders with networking opportunities, mentorship, and immersive learning experiences over a period of 8 weeks during each academic quarter. Propel recently received national recognition winning the 2022 USASBE Excellence in Co-Curricular Innovation Award.
Julienne shared that the award focuses on programs that “advance entrepreneurship education outside of the classroom.” Julienne and USASBE emphasized that lessons on entrepreneurship “can’t just be learned by reading. Students have to take part in the process.”
Propel started with the intention of creating gender balance within The Garage. Through its thoughtful programming, the percentage of female participants in The Garage rose from 30% to 50% in just three years. The cohort-based program pushes female entrepreneurs to take part in all The Garage has to offer, while working closely to support one another during crucial steps in the entrepreneurial journey. Julienne shared that while Propel has a similar structure to other programs across the country, it was created in an “intentional way with exceptional execution” which makes it stand apart.
After hearing from Julienne, student founders took part in the weekly tradition of sharing successes and celebrating failures. Mike Raab, associate director of The Garage reminded students, “If you aren’t failing you're not trying enough new things.” Students took the chance to share their missteps and used confetti poppers to celebrate the lessons they learned.
After celebrating failures, students had the chance to share their successes. This past week, InfernoGuard, a student-founded startup working to provide landowners in remote, fire-prone locations with prompt notification of wildfire risk, participated in the TCU Values and Ventures startup competition and won second place, taking home a prize of $25,000. Authentic Media Ascension (AMA), a startup that works with influencers to understand the analytics of their YouTube videos, signed a term sheet to be acquired! The company is now owned by Jellysmack, where many of the current AMA team hope to work in the future.. Mateo Price, ‘21, founder and CEO of AMA, will be joining the company to help them build out their YouTube branch. Additionally, Mark IV Games, a startup creating board games, will be sending their first prototypes for players all over the world to review. Family Dinner wrapped up with students gathered in the Cafe to catch up and bond.
Elizabeth Savin ’25 is a Manufacturing and Design Engineering major from Wilmette, IL. She is a student aide at The Garage and was part of the Winter 2022 Propel cohort. She is excited to begin her own venture while learning more about entrepreneurship.