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George R & Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Accelerator Program

Description of Program

The Means Center Accelerator program provides year-round support for Illinois State University student entrepreneurs. Students admitted to this program have developed a business and have begun seeing growth. Funding provided by this program helps student business owners “Accelerate” the growth of their company by providing financial support for costs associated with taking their business to the next level of success.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a current student at Illinois State University (Full-Time or Part-Time)
  • Open to both undergraduate and graduate students
  • In order to be considered, applicants must complete the formal application process outlined below.
  • Must not have received more than $20,000 in outside funding prior to applying to program
  • Business model must be original in nature. (No franchising opportunities or replica of already established business)
  • Business must already be started, and ready to take the next steps for growth

General Guidelines of Program

  • Awarded amounts will vary based on needs assessment, but will generally be limited to a maximum amount of $5,000 per student (or student entity, such as a partnership or LLC)
  • Any awards must be spent within one calendar year from the award date
  • All applicants and award recipients must follow procedural guidelines set forth by the Means Center and Illinois State University
  • Students admitted to the program give permission to the Means Center and Illinois State University to share information for publication. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    • Sharing of Business name (and/or business website) on Means Center Social Media pages to promote any progress made by the student business
    • Inclusion of business name in our annual entrepreneurship reports through ISTC
  • Any funding awarded to student entrepreneurs will NOT be in any form of cash payment. All financial support will be paid either directly to vendors on the student’s behalf, or a reimbursement will be issued to the student with submission of an original invoice billable to the student business and proof that payment has been made in full.
  • Illinois State University is an agency of the State of Illinois and is exempt from payment of Illinois Sales Taxes on purchased goods and services. Therefore, any sales tax included in purchase requests will not be paid by the university and will be the sole responsibility of the student.

Timeline of Process

1.       Complete and Submit Application

2.       Application Reviewed by Accelerator Committee

3.       Prepare a presentation for Accelerator Committee

  •  Informal Pitch
  • Details regarding:
    • What the business has done to date
    • What progressive steps are in the works
    • How will the funding be utilized to accelerate your business growth
    • What (if any) funding has been received to date

4.       Schedule meeting with Committee for Presentation

  • Meeting must take place in person, during business hours. Meetings will take place in State Farm Hall of Business building.

5.       Make presentation to Accelerator Committee

6.       Funding Decision Made

  • After the presentation, Committee will deliberate to discuss if the funding requested will be approved in full, partial approval, or rejected.

Contact Information - Please direct any question to...

Means Center Office | 309-438-2994

Terry Lowe, Interim Director |

Gary Wolbers, Associate Director |


1. What kind of purchases can be made?

Accelerator program will fund any purchases that can be directly associated to the growth of your company. Purchases that are excluded include:

  • Operational Expenses (Ex: wages, taxes, building rent, insurance, etc.)

2. Common Purchases from Accelerator Students:

  • Website Design Fees
  • Purchase of additional inventory
  • Technology/Software
  • CRM Software, Computers, Printers, etc.
  • Advertising/Marketing Fees
  • LLC/ Copyright Registration Fees
  • Tools/Machinery used to construct or build products
  • Continued Education Materials
  • Conference Registration Fees
  • Membership Dues to Industry related organization
2020-02-06T09:25:59.772-06:00 2020