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For many college-age makers, creators and builders, the transition from school into the real world can be challenging. After graduation, the continual guidance from professors, classroom structure and school resources diminish, leaving many young entrepreneurs unaware of how to navigate the community. Future Founders Startup bridges this gap by engaging students in community activities while they are in school.

Future Founders Startup provides a dynamic platform to engage, equip and empower collegiate entrepreneurs. Through the program, we bring together dozens of universities, incubators, community organizations and businesses and curate resources so we can help young entrepreneurs succeed. The program promotes cross-school collaboration and increases the capacity of university programs by broadening their reach into the community.

We support two- and four-year undergraduate and graduate students, recent graduates and students of alternative academic programs. In addition, we engage Future Founders Ignite alumni and select high school students.


The E-Pass is a free virtual all-access-pass to curated entrepreneurial experiences in the Chicagoland community. Student benefits include free or discounted tickets to events in the startup community, field trips to entrepreneurial companies, peer meetups, networking, office hours, a job board and more. Students can register for the E-Pass here.


The Fellowship is a selective year-long program designed to accelerate the development of rockstar student entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial-minded individuals. Fellows have priority access to all E-Pass services plus benefit from personalized mentoring and unique cohort experiences. Fellows also volunteer through other Future Founder programs. Learn more about the Fellowship and apply for the upcoming cohort here.

U.Pitch Competition

The annual U.Pitch Competition brings together the best students from a cross-section of universities in the ultimate national elevator pitch competition. Finalists compete with a 90 second pitch of their business or idea to win a portion of a $10,000 prize pool. U.Pitch 2016 will take place on Thursday, November 10 at 1871 in Chicago. Learn more and apply for U.Pitch here.

Program Co-Founders

Future Founders Startup was co-founded by The Coleman Foundation, The John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation and Capital One in 2014.

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