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.

Winter 2024 Propellers

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

Megan Black
Kellogg '24

Project: Shade is redefining SPF - developing products that offer robust protection, skincare benefits, and clean formulations for our evolving environmental landscape.

Zoe Li
McCormick '24

Project: Deep Breath ia a company that offers professional and customizable group meditation services for businesses.

Karen Kodera
McCormick/TGS '25

Project: A forum-based social media designed to foster direct interaction between applications and its users to gather and consolidate feedback and help businesses bring to life the changes that users want.

Annabel Cox
Weinberg '25

Project: An interactive group events calendar app which will allow large groups of friends, teammates, or peers to easily coordinate casual and impromptu meetups.

Arianna Reith
Weinberg '25

Project: Slangshot provides individuals passionate about global learning a platform to develop understanding of different countries' colloquial language and modern culture because fun is vital in developing a worldly perspective.

Victoria Israel
McCormick '26

Project: Hapt-E’s mission is to create advanced and realistic haptics for AR/VR.

Lesi Xie
SoC '24

Project: Launching an innovative affiliate marketing initiative leveraging TikTok's new Affiliate Program to connect aspiring creators with TikTok Shop sellers, facilitating seamless collaborations for product promotions and sales.

Imaan Arshad
Weinberg '24

Project: A nonprofit startup dedicated to providing women's health education seminars and resources to underserved South Asian immigrant women through community clinics; our initiative covers a wide spectrum, including reproductive, sexual, and mental health awareness and outreach.

Kassi Pantvaidya
Kellogg '25

Project: A platform that helps users navigate cross-border healthcare for themselves, and their family members and loved ones.


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.

Two overlapping speech bubbles


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

Left Arrow
Right Arrow