The Propel Program

Propel is a quarterly program for women students with a startup idea.


Launched in 2018, Propel is an internationally recognized, award-winning program providing networking, mentorship, and immersive learning experiences. Women who are full-time students can apply for the program, which is made possible by generous donors. Ideas can be for profit or nonprofit, hardware or software, commercial products, or artistic endeavors—anything that requires bringing a new idea to fruition.

Fall 2023 Propellers

Take a look at the most recent cohort of Propel program participants.

Colleen Charchut

Project: ReWear is an online platform that allows college students to buy, sell, trade, or lend their clothing or accessories to ease the stress of last-minute shopping and promote secondhand practices on campus.

Lucy Grierson

Project: Desperado Denim is a clothing brand created to conserve western values to inspire others to live authentic and with unity.

Tahira Grewal

Topics: Alpime Health offers a reliable, secure, and efficient electronic medical record system, following a three-pronged objective of data storage for healthcare administrators, data representation for doctors and patients, and data analytics for hospitals, starting in Côte d’Ivoire and expanding to neighboring West African countries.

Shannon Sauhee Han

Project: Developing a game that helps people with unwanted intrusive thoughts / obsessive-compulsive disorder by providing helpful tools.

Yashoswini Chakraborty

Project: Sahara is a platform designed to bridge South Asian individuals with mental health professionals from the same cultural background.

Sonali Chandra

Project: The concept is a gourmet sandwich shop that specializes in unique grilled cheese sandwiches that combine high quality bread and cheeses with fruit elements (jams, jellies, preserves, etc.).


40% of US businesses are owned by women. However, less than 10% of venture-backed companies have a woman founder and only 2.8% of venture capital went to all-woman founding teams. The Garage is committed to supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs. In 2018, The Garage launched the Propel program to support women students.


Thank you to the following generous donors for their commitment to supporting the Propel program and student entrepreneurs at Northwestern:

  • Steve KSM ’92 and Katherine Elms
  • Whitney de Hosson Marriott WCAS ’86 and Michael Marriott
  • Natalie and Jonathan Silverstein
  • Andrew WCAS ’91 and Heather Zuckerman
  • Mark SoC'88 and Tricia SoC'89 Rothschild
  • Alicia McGinnis Bienen'87

The Benefits


Invitations to networking events throughout the year.

Travel & Award

Participants attend an all-expenses-paid annual field trip to visit industry-leading brands - plus a $1,000 award to spend on an entrepreneurial project.

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One-on-one mentorship with accomplished professionals.

Frequently asked Questions

Who can apply to Propel?

When can students apply to Propel?

Can multiple students on a team apply to join Propel?

How far along do I need to be with my project or idea?

What is the programming and schedule like?

What resources does Propel offer?

What items can be covered by a Propel financial award?

How many students are in a Propel cohort?

Can I get an extension to use my stipend past my Propel quarter?

I have a question not covered here - who do I contact?


Take a Look Under the Hood

"It’s inspiring being in a space created by women with the goal of uplifting women entrepreneurs. I’ve met so many amazing friends and alumni who I can learn and grow from."

Sofie Davis

Medill '21

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