Startup Opportunity Fund

  • Banner text: Opportunity Fund. Image shows two students and a faculty member standing at a table

Startup Opportunity Fund

The Startup Opportunity Fund, launched in partnership between the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Rowan Innovation Venture Fund, seeks to help first generation and/or underrepresented aspiring entrepreneurs get their business started. The fund competitively awards non-equity startup seed funding ranging from $500-$2,500 to support the launch and growth of new ventures.

An Integrated Approach

The Startup Opportunity Fund believes that every aspiring entrepreneur needs access to not just capital, but also other resources, to start and grow new ventures. Accordingly, applicants who receive funding also gain:

  • Priority access to all RCIE events
  • Dedicated mentorship from a pool of accomplished entrepreneurs and industry leaders
  • Guaranteed space to exhibit at the annual RCIE New Venture Expo
  • Podium time to pitch their companies to the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council
  • Use of the RCIE co-working and meeting space
  • VIP invitations to small, peer group lunch-and-learn sessions 

Investment Evaluation Criteria

The funding committee considers the following factors when evaluating applications:

  • Does the new venture have a driven, capable, passionate founder or founding team?
  • Is the majority owner of the venture a first-generation student, or from an underrepresented population?
  • How likely is it the funding requested will help the new venture move forward in a meaningful way?
  • Is there a demonstrable need for funding?
Final funding decisions are subject to budget availability and approval from the Head of the School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship or designee.

To Apply

Applications open each year in March on StartupTree and are reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in April. Please contact the program director,  Professor Greg Payton, to learn more. 

Support the Program

Every dollar raised for this program is awarded out in the form of non-equity seed funding. To donate, whether it be $5 or $5,000, please click here or contact Joe Delgado, Senior Director of Development, at

Program Partners

  • Rowan Innovation Venture Fund
  • Philly Startup Leaders
  • Rowan University Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion