The application process for the 2016-2017 year has closed.

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The Provost-funded CFE Jump Start Grant Program provides financial support to undergraduate and graduate students to help them achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions and develop their skills and ideas. These grants give you the extra support you need to get your venture up and running, including funding for prototyping, legal, and travel needs, and additional mentorship and resources from the CFE.

Types of Grants

Prototype Development Grants

  • $1,500 limit per team. For students building a prototype of their entrepreneurial product. For example: students involved in website development need an active web prototype. CFE contributions do not include labor costs nor the purchase of capital equipment (machines, tools, phones, tablets, etc.). Students must conduct enough research to verify the prototype meets the needs of the market. The award amount is variable, based on the nature of the prototype and the needs of the student company or entrepreneur. Some 3D printing resources: Engineering’s Duderstadt 3D Lab, ThingSmith, Makerworks.

Legal Services Grants

  • $1,000 limit per team. For students seeking legal counsel related to starting a business (e.g. incorporation, filing a patent, freedom to operate, etc.) For this grant, CFE contributions typically match the expenditure of the student company or student entrepreneur.  The CFE strongly suggests talking to the Law School’s Entrepreneurship Clinic or legal counsel to ascertain needs and the associated costs. Award amount is variable, based on the nature of the prototype and the needs of the student company or student entrepreneur.  International student entrepreneurs with questions regarding their visa status as it relates to launching a startup venture should visit the International Center for assistance.

Travel Grants

  • $250 per member domestic (continental), $500 per member international (non-continental). For students invited to participate in an entrepreneurship conference through a competitive selection process or to attend the award ceremony for a competition for which they were named semi-finalist or finalist; or for students who need to travel to a remote location to conduct customer discovery or market research. The award structure is as follows:
    • Up to $250 per team member for domestic, continental United States travel
    • Up to $500 per team member for international and non-continental United States travel

A travel grant cannot be applied to a CFE-Sponsored Entrepreneurial Experience trip. A maximum of four team members may apply for funds to travel to the same location at the same time. When purchasing an airline ticket, students should give preference to domestic common carriers, and should book a seat in economy/coach class.

Retroactive Grants

  • Requests for retroactive funding will not be considered, and must therefore be submitted prior to any student expenditure.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must:
    • use the funds to advance an entrepreneurial endeavor OR acquire entrepreneurial skills, knowledge, and experience
    • be enrolled in a U-M degree-granting program and in good academic standing (GPA of at least 2.0 for undergraduate students, or 3.0 [5.0 on old Rackham scale] for graduate students)
    • be actively enrolled in a U-M degree-granting program to receive funds at the time of disbursement
  • Teams:
    • can receive no more than $2,000 in Jump Start Grant funding per fiscal year (July 1-June 30)
    • can receive no more than the maximum allowable amount per grant category per fiscal year (July 1-June 30)
    • are eligible to receive only one CFE-administered prototyping grant per fiscal year (July 1-June 30) – either Clean Energy Venture Challenge or Jump Start Grant
    • a team’s additional funding sources may be taken into consideration when reviewing a grant application
  • Individuals:
    • can receive no more than $1,000 in Jump Start Grant funding per fiscal year (July 1-June 30)
  • Your Idea:
    • The CFE is interested in supporting impact-driven ideas – that is, disruptive ideas that are scalable and meet a societal need. While CFE encourages innovation and creativity, it will not condone or support companies that it deems contrary to its organizational culture, interests, and goals. This may include entrepreneurial projects that are derogatory or discriminatory in nature, as well as companies whose mission is to manufacture or sell sex as a product; gambling as a product; illegal drugs or drugs other than registered pharmaceuticals or their associated paraphernalia; weapons; alcoholic beverages; and tobacco products. CFE reserves the right to revoke funding and/or support of any entrepreneurial projects, events, and organizations who violate its standards and guidelines.

The Application Process

  1. Complete the application form.
  2. In the “External Funding” section, be sure to include information about any funding you’ve received or requested from other institutions.
  3. In the “Supporting Documentation” section, please upload:
    • Required Documents
    • at least one (1) Faculty Reference Form for a current student on your team
    • a detailed budget proposal
    • Optional Documents
    • any other supporting documentation (photos, hand-drawn or computer renderings, customer discovery surveys, slide decks, etc.)
  4. All filenames should be prefixed with your startup name, e.g. SpaceX – Budget.xlsx
  5. If you have any problems with the application process, please email
  6. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed on the dates listed below.

Dates and Deadlines

 Round Application Due Deliverables Due
 1 October 9, 2016 January 6, 2017
 2 November 6, 2016  January 6, 2017
 3 January 15, 2017  March 16, 2017
 4 February 12, 2017  April 12, 2017
 5 April 9, 2017  June 8, 2017

Award Notification & Disbursement

  • Notification
    • Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by e-mail within two weeks after the application due date.
    • Please do not contact the CFE regarding the status of an application.
  • Disbursement
    • Awardees can expect payment to be processed within three weeks from the date of award notification.
    • Funds are disbursed either by check or direct deposit, depending on how the applicant’s account is set up in the University of Michigan system.
    • Funds will be distributed to individual students. We will not distribute funds to outside legal entities or persons. The amount allocated to each student is determined by the student team, as specified on the grant application.
    • Failure to complete all requirements of the Jump Start Grant Application Process may result in an adjustment to the total amount disbursed.
  • Taxes and Financial Aid
    • This award may have tax implications. Please contact your tax advisor with any questions.
    • This award may also affect need-based aid in your financial aid package. These instances are handled individually and you will be contacted directly if it appears you may be affected.


As a JSG recipient, you’ll be required to provide a 1-2 page summary that includes:

  1. An update on the status of your venture,
  2. How your funds were specifically used,
  3. What you learned since receiving the funds, including your customer discovery efforts, and
  4. Your next steps regarding your idea or endeavor.

Please email your summary to by the Deliverables Due date associated with your round.