What is IDEA?

IDEA is a student-led venture accelerator that supports entrepreneurs in the Northeastern community to reach their full potential. True to our Northeastern roots, IDEA provides a valuable experiential educational opportunity to everyone involved from the ventures and coaches to the management team and full-time staff.

What kind of ideas can I start?

IDEA is industry agnostic. IDEA founders tackle big problems in every industry, from software to food and beverage, consumer products to high tech. We support it all.

I have an idea, where do I start?

Join new venture orientation, which will give you a overview of the idea process and how you can begin developing your concept.

How can I get involved?

There are two ways to get involved - being on the management team, or starting a venture. Positions on the management team generally open up at the beginning of every semester. Applications will be sent around a month or two before the end of the previous semester. You can also get involved by starting a venture. To start a venture, you will be required to attend a New Venture Orientation, a short information session on IDEA and our process.

What are the different stages of IDEA and what do they mean?

The IDEA program is split up into three stages: ready, set, and go. Ventures in the program begin at the Ready stage which is focused on customer validation. From there ventures will move to the Set stage after conducting a solutions design pitch. In the set stage ventures begin to build their business model. From the Set stage ventures arrive in Go where they are beginning to execute their model bringing the business to life.

How long does it take to get through the IDEA program?

There is no fixed timeline to get through the program and we allow ventures to work at their own pace.

How often do you have meetings?

Unlike Northeastern's other entrepreneurial organizations we do not have public meetings.

If I am not Northeastern affiliated will you still provide me resources and feedback on my venture?

Unfortunately, we cannot extend our resources and knowledge to those not affiliated with Northeastern. In order for you to enroll in IDEA you must be either a current student (undergraduate, graduate, or PhD), alumni, faculty & staff.

Who does IDEA partner with?

IDEA continues to partner with the Northeastern entrepreneurial ecosystem groups and also has a list of service providers who do pro-bono work for ventures in different areas of their growth.

Is there an application process?

No, there is no application to join IDEA as a venture. Simply attend the New Venture Orientation sign up here and you will be entered into IDEA’s Ready stage.To join IDEA as a management team member, there is an application and interview process. Applications are generally sent around one to two months before the start of the next semester and candidates are selected based on experience and interest in early stage venture. Please see the current management team openings here.


What is the Prototype Fund?

The Prototype fund is for any Northeastern affiliated person to develop and test a prototype. You do not need to be an IDEA Venture to apply for Prototype fund. The Prototype fund grants a maximum of $1,000 per application and is run on a bi-monthly basis. See the Prototype Fund Application for more information.

What is the Gap Fund?

The IDEA Gap Fund is a $10,000 non-equity educational grant available to ventures in the Go stage of IDEA's process. Grants are available for applicants on a bi-monthly basis. Applications are reviewed by IDEA’s student-led Investment Committee before being selected to pitch in front of members of IDEA's Advisory Board.

How much Gap funding can I receive?

You can receive IDEA Gap Funding up to three times for a total of $30,000 ($10,000 installments).

Do you take equity?

During no part of the IDEA process or funding does Northeastern or IDEA take any equity in our ventures.

Do you have to be in IDEA to get the Gap Fund?

Yes, you must be in the Go Stage of IDEA’s process.

When is the next Gap Funding round?

Gap Fund applications are accepted year round on the 15th of every odd month.

When is the next Gap Fund Information session? Do I have to attend if I’ve already been to one?

Gap Fund Information sessions are generally held a week before Gap Fund applications are due. Please see the calendar for the next session. Attending the Gap Fund information session is mandatory even if you have attended a session for a previous round. Your application will not be considered if you do not attend.

Can you receive the Gap Fund more than once?

You can receive IDEA Gap Funding up to three times for a total of $30,000 ($10,000 installments).

Do I have to be a business major to be on the team? Do you have to be an undergrad?

We encouarge undergradute students to apply to be on the management team regardless of the school or major they are affiliated with. Currently our team consists of engineering, computer science, economics, and business students. In order to join the management team you must be a current undgergraduate student at Northeastern. Positions are available on a semester basis and depend on whether or not team members shift out.

Management Team

What type of work do team members do?

Members of the IDEA team work in operations, marketing, event management, and the investment committee. The breakout of each sector of IDEA is: operations, marketing, event committee, investment committee.


Can you connect me with a technical co-founder?

Finding a co-founder is like finding your soulmate, hence, we try not to be the matchmakers. But we do provide opportunities for you to meet others interested in entrepreneurship and working for a startup.

What if I have a recurring conflict with the New Venture Orientation?

Please contact the Ready Stage Coordinator here to try to set up a different time.

If I have a developed venture already, do I still have to start in the Ready stage?

The IDEA program makes no exceptions to its process and requires all ventures to start in the Ready stage.

Do I have to have a business to join?

You do not have to have a running business to join the IDEA program, all we ask is that you have an idea you are passionate about pursing further into a business.

How do I apply?

No application is necessary to join the IDEA stage-gate process. Simply attend the New Venture Orientation and you will be entered into IDEA’s Ready stage.