Fuel: Empowering Student Ventures with Comprehensive Support

Fuel represents CFE’s focused initiative to directly support student projects. It is aimed at student ventures or founders who are dedicated to the process of commercialization. These ventures should be actively pursuing achievable objectives, such as developing a minimum viable product, securing funding, making sales, and generating revenue. This program is open to both profit and non-profit initiatives, provided they have a well-defined subsequent task or significant accomplishment that can be realized within a single semester.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The academic year provides six opportunities to earn funding: September, October, November, January, February and March.

Up to $25K and other resources for student ventures and projects. 

Fuel snapshot

Who should apply for Fuel?

Founders or teams are expected to show dedication and motivation, and should:

Possess a clear understanding of the commitment required for commercialization.

Aim for achievable objectives, such as developing a minimum viable product, procuring funding, making sales, and generating revenue. This applies whether the endeavor is profit-oriented or not.

Define a distinct next phase or milestone that can be reached within a single semester.

How can I determine the suitable amount for a funding request?

If you are unsure about the future steps of your idea, it is advisable to ask for a smaller sum. Keep in mind that a comprehensive budget must accompany each submission for funds; applications lacking a detailed budget will be considered incomplete. Here is further guidance:

  • $1,000 funding request should be related to an activity or action that clarifies the path forward
  • $5,000 funding request should be related to production of an MVP or demonstration
  • $10,000 funding request should be related to advanced prototype or demonstration to gain validation of a go-to-market strategy
  • $20,000 funding request should be scale-up or production validation for an existing proof-of-concept backed by significant customer discovery and commercialization strategy

Fuel Timeline

During the months of September, October, November, January, February and March, the review process for student applications will proceed according to the following general timeline shown below. Please note the Spring Break may shift the Feb or March schedule. It is always best to submit your application before the first Thursday of each month.

1st Thursday: Applications due. Application review begins.

2nd Thursday: Teams receive written feedback from the Decision Committee.

3rd Thursday: Selected teams are invited for in-person pitch or demo presentation.

4th Thursday: Financial grants, amounting up to $25K, are announced. Once the timeline is met, it’s time for your team to swing into action! Please note, it’s mandatory for teams to check-in with the CFE staff every quarter.


Questions? Email: Nick Moroz

Application Process


This link leads you to the Project Pitch Template that you can utilize prior to filling out the main application.

If you use the above template you can attach the document in the file upload area at the end of the online application OR fill out the project pitch directly in the online application.

Helpful Resources for Fuel Application

Helpful Resources for Fuel Application

NSF Project Pitch – This is the model for your application

Comprehensive application example

Budget template

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