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The Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (CICE) seeks to encourage the students of the Wake Forest community, both undergraduates and graduates, to leverage their disciplinary interests and skills to pursue opportunities that create change and result in sustainable value for society. To achieve this goal, the CICE provides support to students wishing to develop and launch creative and innovative enterprises that provide solutions to significant problems, and thus deliver sustainable cultural or social impact, and/or economic value.

Starting this year, we have put in place a robust program replacing the old Seed Grant process. This program, called the Deacon Springboard, will provide both funding and advising to students interested in launching an entrepreneurial venture, whether for-profit or not-for-profit.

This process allows students to apply for access to the new Deacon Springboard.  Applications are encouraged from individuals and groups who are simply at the idea stage, as well as those who are already engaged in a start-up venture. 

Students who are selected for the Deacon Springboard will:

1) receive $200 in seed funds

2) be matched with a dynamic Venture Advisor

3) have access to Venture Assistance Funds

4) gain entry to Flywheel Start-up Factory

5) obtain an automatic entry to the WFU Deac Tank Competition on March 21, 2017!

Congratulations to the 2016-17 Deacon Springboard! Read more about them here!


2016-2017 Process





Information Session


September 14

6:00-7:30 pm

230 Reynolda Hall

You will receive general information on the NEW Deacon Springboard (formerly the Seed Grant process), insight on how to choose a venture team, and a copy of the student interest form.


Deadline to submit your interest form


September 22

by midnight

The 2016-17 Deacon Springboard has been selected.

Please check back in September 2017 for the next application.


Pitch to the WFU Ventures and Competitions Committee


September 27

5:30-7:30 pm

230 Reynolda Hall

Pitches should only be 2 minutes.

You may bring a prototype.

No slide presentations.


Students/teams accepted into the Deacon Springboard will be announced


September 28



Deacon Springboard Launch meeting for accepted students


September 29

5:00-6:00 pm

   Reynolda Hall,    Autumn Room

Deacon Springboard students attend a Launch meeting to learn more about pitching to the Advisory Council and other requirements.


Deacon Springboard students/teams pitch to the ICE Advisory Council, networking session will follow


October 6

  5:30-6:45 pm

     Reynolda Hall,      Magnolia Room

Pitches should only be 2 minutes.

Deacon Springboard students/teams will be matched with a Venture Advisor from the ICE Advisory Council.


Kick-off session with Venture Advisors


October 7

11:00 am

Graylyn International Conference Center

Deacon Springboard members will meet with their Venture Advisors during the ICE Advisory Council meeting to discuss schedules, work plan, budget, and exchange contact information.


Requests for Venture Assistance Funds and Budget proposals due to CICE


October 31

Submit via email to parrisal@wfu.edu or deliver to 230 Reynolda Hall.


Deacon Springboard students meet with their Venture Advisor

October - February


Develop value proposition and business model canvas


Deac Tank Competition


March 21

6:00 pm

Benson 401

Deacon Springboard students/teams will compete for additional venture funding in the inaugural Deac Tank Competition.

IMPORTANT - please read!

*Applications may be for-profit or not-for-profit ventures in any academic discipline supported by Wake Forest University.

*All students who submit the Deacon Springboard application will make a 2-minute pitch to the WFU Ventures and Competitions Committee on 9/27/2016.  The Committee will recommend up to 10 teams to be admitted to the Deacon Springboard.

*If selected for the Deacon Springboard, you will be expected to participate fully in all of the events leading up to the Deac Tank Competition to be held at WFU in February 2017.

*Due to regulatory restrictions, international students are not eligible to participate in the Deacon Springboard. Please contact the Center for Global Programs & Studies if you have any questions.

** Students selected for the Deacon Springboard may also be considered as contenders to represent Wake Forest University in the ACC InVenture Prize Competition (held at Georgia Tech March 30-31, 2017), the Discovery Forum held at WFU on November 16, 2016, and the TCU Values and Ventures Competition held at TCU April 21-22, 2017.


Judging Criteria


Value Proposition & Customer Discovery

Competitive Analysis 

  • What is your commitment level (passion, realistic view)?
  • What work has already been completed?
  • What are the plans for next steps?
  • Who is your customer and why?
  • What is the customer's "pain point"?
  • What is the value proposition your product or service provides?
  • What are the similar products / services already available?
  •  What are customers currently doing to solve the problem?


For information about ventures that have been awarded grants in the past, please visit the ICE office in 230 Reynolda Hall.