• Banner text: AccelerateRU. Image shows group of students working together at a white board.


Since its inception in May 2018, AccelerateRU is Rowan's summer startup accelerator providing students with the resources needed to grow and scale their ventures faster and more successfully. This flexible summer program provides five types of support:

  1. Financial – Ventures can be awarded up to $7,500 non-equity seed funding.
  2. Strategic – Each venture is partnered with a dedicated coach to work with your team each week, has access to a team of incredible ‘Startup Gurus’ (seasoned mentors) and a faculty guide to help you along the way, and will attend bi-weekly special topic webinars led by amazing trainers.
  3. Infrastructure – Each venture has access to the RCIE and its physical resources. This includes access to the AccelerateRU co-working and collaboration space, breakout rooms, and the Studio 231 makerspace.
  4. In-Kind – Each team has access to in-kind services offered through the RCIE, including legal guidance, insurance consultations, software, etc. 
  5. Additional Funding – Additional non-equity seed funding may be available to teams throughout the duration of the program, based on need and traction, and subject to budget availability. In addition, equity-based seed funding is available from the Rowan Innovation Venture Fund (RIVF) upon completion of the accelerator program based on a competitive application process. RIVF funding is not a fit for every startup, so work with your coach to determine if applying is a good potential fit. 

Program Details

AccelerateRU is a 10-week program running from June through August. Teams engage in a weekly 1:1 meeting with their coach, bi-weekly professional development sessions on key topics (sales, legal, etc.), and a diverse array of experienced mentors are available by appointment as needed. The main goal of the program is to help startup teams move the needle forward on their ventures as fast as responsibly possible - it's all about building momentum! 

Teams will be expected to complete a preliminary use of funds budget for approval, a mid-program check-in, and an end of program summary report. Additionally, each team is expected to attend a luncheon with the sponsors and/or present their startup to the advisory council in the Fall or Spring semester (dates for both are to be determined).

StartupRU Team

Jessica Vattima, Assistant Director, Rowan Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Jessica (Wolk) Vattima is the Assistant Director of the Rowan Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. She holds a a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast, Visual, and Interactive Media, with a concentration in TV Production, from Seton Hall University. Prior to Rowan, Jessica worked in production management in New York City with major networks such as Netflix, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and NBC. Jessica oversees all the day-to-day program operations for entrepreneurship at Rowan. 

Ernest Holtzheimer, Managing Director, Rowan Innovation Venture Fund

Ernest Holtzheimer is a corporate attorney and Member at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot, LLC in the firm's Philadelphia office. He aims to successfully counsel businesses and individuals on a wide range of matters, including finance transactions, corporate structuring and compliance, securities regulations, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and angel funding, real estate, and technology. Since 2020 Mr. Holtzheimer has served as the Managing Director of the Rowan's multi-million dollar Innovation Venture Fund.  

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Rowan students, including those graduating this Spring or within the last 12 months, are eligible to apply. Faculty/student collaborative projects are also welcome. Graduate students and students enrolled in Rowan’s medical schools or at RCGC or RCBC are eligible to apply. Before you apply, be sure you and your team are registered on StartupTree, and that you register your venture on the platform. 

AccelerateRU uses a variable award structure for its seed funding, meaning not all teams are awarded the same level of funding. This approach allows us to try and right-size the resources necessary to help a wide array of very different startups move forward efficiently. The needs of a drone technology company and the needs of a landscaping company are often different, meaning what is most important to building immediate momentum in that company, and ultimately growth and scale, vary, so funding decisions must take that into account.

Final funding commitments are made following a full review of your application and proposed use of funds, in consultation with the AccelerateRU coach and RCIE leadership team. All funding is based on budget availability and subject to the final approval of the Head of the School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

To Apply

Applications for AccelerateRU are posted on StartupTree in April and close in May.