Little Joe Ventures Fellowship

Launched in 2018 by Tony Owen ’97, ’03 MBA, and his wife, Monique, the Little Joe Ventures Fellowship in Entrepreneurship provides an unparalleled experience to students with a demonstrated interest in and commitment to building new ideas.

Each year, Northwestern faculty and staff committees nominate and select students who have shown exceptional promise as entrepreneurs. Five sophomores are chosen each winter quarter after a rigorous interview process. Each cohort is announced at the beginning of the spring quarter.

Fellows selected to participate in the highly competitive program receive financial awards, mentors and transformational experiences, including international travel. Additionally, the Fellows gain access to the donor’s and university’s extensive networks.

Take a Look

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During junior year, Fellows travel to Los Angeles to explore startups and meet inspiring alumni and innovative leaders. They attend special events throughout the year like TEDxChicago. Fellows also receive 1-on-1 mentorship and/or executive coaching.

During senior year, each Fellow delivers a Senior Talk and workshop for the other Fellows on a topic that is personal and unique to their entrepreneurial journey. Topics have ranged from Designing Your Life to Building Community Cultures. During spring break of senior year, the Fellows travel internationally on an Emerging Leaders’ Expedition. This experience is thoughtfully designed to make them more purpose-driven, self-aware leaders.

Fellows receive a $5,000 award for an entrepreneurial project or internship. Fellows have used the funding to purchase inventory for their startup; to cover living expenses during an unpaid summer internship; and to travel to TechCrunch Disrupt SF and other conferences.

The Benefits

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Selected Residents get 24/7 access to The Garage, a dedicated desk, and access to reservable meeting rooms.

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Workshops and mentorship focused on personal and professional growth.

Travel & Award

All expenses paid, domestic and international trips - plus, a $5,000 award for an entrepreneurial project or internship.

Program Fellows

Check out the current cohort below!

Ali Lee, Weinberg '25

Ali is a sophomore in Weinberg, studying Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences (MMSS) and History. Ali founded a clothing company in high school, which gained traction through branding campaigns and social media marketing, which amassed millions of views. Her products have been seen on influencers such as Emma Chamberlain, Lennon Stella, Mackenzie Ziegler, and featured in publications such as O Magazine, Vox, and The Today Show. At Northwestern University, she is a member of Mayfest Productions, A&O, the winter Propel Program, and the president of the North Area Council. In her free time she enjoys boxing and is training for the 2024 Golden Gloves.

"I'm super grateful for this opportunity to gain access to new resources and support at Northwestern as well as meet the rest of the cohort."

Ian Lei, Medill '25

Ian is from Boston, Massachusetts and is studying Journalism and Economics with a minor in Data Science. Ian’s interest in entrepreneurship started in high school when he founded a program that taught news literacy and other journalism practices to middle school students in Massachusetts. At Northwestern, Ian assisted in creating fundraising materials for Acorn Genetics, a startup building third-generation genetic sequencing devices to make DNA testing more affordable, accessible, and private. Ian is also a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and runs an AI ethics newsletter called Hold the Code. Additionally, he is passionate about data privacy, fostering strong organizational cultures, and the art of business strategy. Ian is driven by a deep desire to understand how new ventures can leverage emerging technologies and legal frameworks to drive innovation and growth.

"I have no idea where my entrepreneurial journey will take me here at Northwestern, but I have no doubt that being a part of the LJV community, especially with the mentorship it provides, will be transformative in whatever I end up doing. I cannot wait to see how my peers and I will grow through the LJV Fellowship."

Lauren Lin, SESP '25

Lauren is a designer at heart. She loves bringing tangibility to ideas and crafting creative strategies backed by research and insights. She calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, and is studying Learning Sciences, Data Science, and Human Computer Interaction at Northwestern. While being surrounded by the fast-paced culture of Silicon Valley, she has become increasingly interested in responsible innovation and ethical design practices. She hopes to reimagine the next era of design—and will start by creating new tools that bring reflective, intersectional and critical lenses to design thinking. Currently, Lauren is launching Technical Difficulties with Dr. Liz Gerber, a podcast featuring female leaders in tech and design, while also inventing toys and co-leading youth-centered research at IDEO’s Play Lab.

"I’m excited to be inspired by everyone—the LJV community, my cohort, and mentors—and in the process, discover and redefine what entrepreneurship means to me and the world!"

Noah Edelman, Weinberg '25

Born and raised in New York City, Noah is a Psychology major with a minor in Entrepreneurship. His journey into the world of internet startups began with a passion project on tennis match forecasting as a sophomore in high school. Since then, Noah founded an investment management fund and has started multiple business newsletters in The Garage’s Residency program. Last year, Noah was a part of the team at Authentic Media Ascension, where he spearheaded an online content strategy before the startup’s acquisition. Currently, he’s co-founding The Neuron, a media startup that keeps over 35,000 working professionals up-to-date on AI developments in a daily newsletter. Noah's mission is to educate communities about the impact of emerging technologies on their lives, jobs, and future.

"Joining Little Joe Ventures with other student entrepreneurs and mentors offers aunique opportunity to tap into their diverse expertise in various areas ofentrepreneurship, which will help me broaden my perspective, think bigger, and makethe most significant impact as a founder."

Zoe Lewis, SESP '25

Zoe is a sophomore at Northwestern University studying Learning Sciences and Entrepreneurship with a concentration in the design of learning spaces. She is eager to meet challenges, research issues, and explore new avenues of industry. As the Founder of PETAL, she is dedicated to researching and building spaces of liberatory learning for individuals from all backgrounds. Her focus is to ensure equity is centered in all facets of work and life.

"To me, being a part of LJV means being able to access resources and community that will support me in learning how to most effectively design and facilitate spaces of learning."


Take a Look Under the Hood

"Becoming an LJV Fellow has changed my path at Northwestern entirely. It has provided me with such an inspiring community within The Garage as well as incredible opportunities that I never would have had access to if it weren’t for the Owens’ generosity. Since being selected, I have been launched into the real world of entrepreneurship with full force, meeting some of the most influential people and gaining valuable learning experiences that have helped shape my future as a founder and beyond.”

Lilliana Robinson

McCormick '21

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