FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for a Penn Wharton Innovation Fund Award?

  • Current Penn/Wharton Students (Given priority)
  • Current Penn/Wharton Faculty/Staff
  • Penn/Wharton Alumni

Can I apply for an Penn Wharton Innovation Fund if I am an international student?

Yes, you will just have to fill out additional documentation and provide copies of your visa and passport.

What is the deadline to apply for the  Penn Wharton Innovation Fund?
There is no deadline to apply.  Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

How are Penn Wharton Innovation Fund Applications evaluated?
We evaluate ventures on:

  • Originality of Innovation
  • Scalability/impact
  • Viability/practicality
  • Usefulness
  • The development process

How does the review process work?

  1. Upon submitting your application, it ends up in the Staff Quality Assurance round, where a staff member must check the applicant’s eligibility & that the application is complete. This process usually happens within 1 business day.
  2. From there the application moves to the Review round where it must receive at least 5 reviews. This can take between 2 weeks and 1 month.
  3. Once the application receives 5 reviews, it moves on to Staff Decision Round where a staff member must review the selection committee’s recommendations and make a yes/no determination.

Who is on the PWIF Selection Committee and how can I contact them?

The PWIF has a selection committee with about 25 current Penn student from across the University.   If it has been over a month since you applied to the PWIF, you may email the mailing list: pwif-selection-committee AT wharton.upenn.edu However, please make sure to walk the very fine line between poking and spamming. 

What types of ventures are funded?

We’re looking for projects that will accomplish real change in the world, innovations that disrupt the usual way of doing business, ideas that will, when brought to fruition, have true impact. If this describes your startup, then apply now.

What is considered “appropriate use of funds”?
Funds provided as direct grants to student-led projects can be used to build, test and develop prototypes, to purchase technical and legal resources, engage software developers or engineers, or for other expenses related to developing the idea or invention.

How long will it take to receive funding after we have been accepted?
After completion of all necessary documents, funding arrives in approximately 3-4 weeks.

In what form will I receive my award funds?
Award funds are sent by check or deposited into your bank account depending upon how you are set up in our payment system already. If the award is coming by check, it will be sent to the address on your W9 form.

How many times can I apply?
If you need continued support for your venture, you can apply for a second or third round of funding up but must show progress and results and follow ALL reporting deadlines.

Can I apply with a different venture?
Yes.  You can apply for multiple ventures but all of the same criteria apply.  Results from your other ventures may affect the application decisions.

Who maintains rights to intellectual property?
Inventions or ventures that emerge from student-led projects remain the intellectual property of the student-inventors. In instances of inventions or ventures that leverage the University’s intellectual property, any economic value will be shared among the inventors, the School and the University.