How to Start a Startup @ Vanderbilt

A comprehensive list of resources to help you get started!

Student Groups

Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society (VINES)

The Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society (VINES) serves passionate innovators in the execution of ideas by providing resources, education, and an entrepreneurial community. Programs like Startup Cohort, Speaker Series, 1000 Pitches, and Startup Weekend provide wraparound support for students in all stages of their innovation journey.

The Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society (VINES) serves passionate innovators in the execution of ideas by providing resources, education, and an entrepreneurial community. Programs like Startup Cohort, Speaker Series, 1000 Pitches, and Startup Weekend provide wraparound support for students in all stages of their innovation journey.


We are an organization dedicated to fostering hacker culture and building a computer science community at Vanderbilt University! We accomplish this by hosting an annual hackathon—a 36-hour software development marathon during which attendees think of an idea and build it—alongside regular hack nights, study nights, and many other fun events!


Vanderbilt Asian Pre-Professional Society (VAPS)

Our mission is to grow a global network of highly motivated student leaders who seek to impact Vanderbilt and the greater business community. We want to foster a tight-knit community focused on developing professional and leadership skills for success. We welcome students of all majors and interests to join our club in order to develop their professional skills.

Women in Business (WiB)

Vanderbilt Blockchain

Vanderbilt Free and Open-Source Society (vFOSS)

Vanderbilt Effective Altruism

Delta Sigma Pi (DSP)

The Omicron chapter of Delta Sigma Pi works to foster talented individuals by providing numerous opportunities for professional development through a wide variety of offerings throughout the year. We are a close-knit community of 100+ passionate brothers who work to instill leadership, promote diversity, tackle adversity, and achieve success in our studies, communities, and careers. We collect and share business opportunities and resources with each other and the Vanderbilt community.

Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi)

AKPsi is Vanderbilt’s oldest and largest professional co-ed business fraternity. Comprised of a diverse group of students and professionals, we are dedicated to fostering a supportive, professional environment for young business leaders on campus.

Theta Tau

Phi Sigma Rho

Product Space

Hackathons and Competitions


The largest collegiate hackathon in the South! Every October @ Vanderbilt University.

48 Hour Launch

48 Hour Launch is a two-day startup weekend for undergraduate students to form a team, develop an idea, and pitch to a panel of professional judges to win thousands of dollars in prizes, including the opportunity to pitch to two high-impact venture capital firms and tickets to TechStars Startup Weekend.

VINES Demo Day

Do you have an idea you want to hear honest feedback on? Do you want to practice pitching? Join us to pitch in front of industry expert “sharks”, polish your idea in open office hours with mentors, and take home a big cash prize!

Map the System

Map the System teaches Vanderbilt University students to use systems research to understand a specific social or environmental challenge and identify meaningful opportunities to help address it. This program is an ideal launching point for students interested in social change or social entrepreneurship. Vanderbilt University partners with the Global Map the System Competition at University of Oxford to bring this program to campus. The winner of Vanderbilt’s on-campus competition advances to the global finals.

Social Enterprise Pitch Competition with the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures

The Wond’ry supports the Turner Family Center for Social Venture’s coordination of the Vanderbilt University Social Enterprise Pitch Competition. Launching in Fall 2021 to replace Vanderbilt’s participation in the HULT Competition, the Social Enterprise Pitch Competition provides Vanderbilt students the opportunity to ideate on solving a real challenge in our ever-changing global environments.

Firestarter Pitches

Accelerators, Incubators, and Funding


Launch is designed to support pre-seed and seed-stage venture founders in a wide array of sectors—from health care to the arts—and business models, including social ventures and benefit corporations.

NSF Innovation Corps

The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program was introduced in 2011 to accelerate the economic and societal benefits of academic research. At its core, the I-Corps Program teaches how to apply the scientific method to the development of business models that can support the translation of new technologies to commercial markets. Through this program we will provide non-dilutive funding of $2,300 and a pathway for further mentorship and guidance through the National I-Corps program where teams receive an additional $50,000 funding. Moreover, this program enables you to receive NSF lineage and greatly improve your chances to receive future SBIR and STTR grant funding.

Vanderbilt Green Fund

Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Sohr Grants

Each year, Owen alum Jim Sohr awards his prestigious Sohr grant. Each grant is for $25k. Students present their ideas to a group of seasoned entrepreneurs who vote on who will receive the awards. The grant program provides funding for a maximum of five students each year, and the funds are paid in three blocks depending on the performance of the student in developing their company. If you would like to present your idea, please contact for information on when the next session will happen or check the events section.

Summer Grants

Each year, up to three first-year MBA student entrepreneurs are awarded $15k to launch their business during the summer between their first and second year. The program is designed to allow student entrepreneurs the funding they need to launch their business while at Owen instead of pursuing a traditional summer internship at a major corporation. Awards are based on a pitch competition held during Mod III. There are multiple prep sessions held prior to the pitch competition to assist in preparing to pitch for a Summer grant.

University Programs

The Wond’ry

The Wond’ry is Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center. From engineers to scientists to entrepreneurs to artists, the Wond’ry is the primary point of connection for students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. The Wond’ry is the catalyst for building and strengthening creativity across campus, fostering innovation in all fields, and forging a stronger “maker” culture at Vanderbilt University. At the Wond’ry there is something for everyone, from speaker series and workshops to makerspaces, interactive art exhibits, and unique corporate partnerships. The Wond’ry provides students opportunities to gain real-world experience in creating new processes, building new technologies, and forming fresh insights. Students and faculty are encouraged to build, innovate, explore and care. Here, our campus community can turn abstract ideas into realities that make a difference in people’s lives.


The Wond’ry at Vanderbilt University offers the Sullivan Family Ideator as a way to assist university innovators (faculty, students, staff) that want to take the ideas that have been percolating in their minds and bring them out into daylight. This program teaches an evidence-based approach to idea evaluation. Is the idea needed? Who is the ideal audience? Where do you even start? Ideator is here to help answer those questions.


Builder provides a step-by-step guide for aspiring entrepreneurs (faculty, staff, and students) with a viable early-stage idea to actually launch a new venture. Builder is the perfect next step for graduates of the Wond’ry Ideator program, entrepreneurs with a validated product, technology, or service that have already engaged in customer discovery efforts, found a problem-solution fit, and would like to learn how to launch a new non-profit or for-profit venture or pursue a licensing deal.


Founder provides resources, connections, mentorship, and funding opportunities for entrepreneurs that have:

  • Undertaken an in-depth customer discovery process
  • Found problem-solution fit and product-market fit
  • Launched a for-profit or non-profit venture

We want to see you and your venture succeed, attract new customers, hire employees, and contribute to the growth and climate of the Nashville entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Owen Center for Entrepreneurship (C4E)

Academic Courses

Undergraduate students interested in entrepreneurship are boundless in their academic pursuits. Many pursue programs including but not limited to the following:

Human and Organizational Development (major/minor); Computer Science (major/minor); Business (minor); Data Science (minor); Economics (major/minor); Communication of Science and Technology (major/minor); Medicine, Health, and Society (major/minor); Mathematics (major/minor); Computer Engineering (major/minor); Climate Studies (major); Environmental and Sustainability Studies (minor); Energy and Environmental Systems (minor).


Social Innovation Think Tank

Coffee Equity Lab

The Coffee Equity Lab at the Wond’ry combines research, practice, and teaching to pursue meaningful and coordinated resolutions to equity challenges for all actors across the coffee supply chain. The Lab also engages students in experiential learning opportunities through which they may learn about and engage in the pressing social and ecological challenges shaping our world through the lens of the global coffee sector. The Lab carries forward the Vanderbilt Institute of Coffee Studies‘ 15-year legacy of coffee research. It is housed in the Social Innovation Practice at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s 13,000-square-foot on-campus center for innovation.

Climate, Health and Energy Equity Lab

The Lab, launching in Fall 2022, combines research, practice, and teaching to advance just approaches to climate mitigation and renewable transitions. Accepted students will collaborate with Dr. Tzankova and Dr. Ziegler to map corporate & institutional awareness on the equity implications of climate mitigation pledges & actions; develop conceptual and strategic approaches for using climate mitigation to alleviate specific economic, environmental and health inequities; and, design strategies that simultaneously advance climate mitigation and health, energy, environmental, and economic equity.


The Wond’ry features Makerspaces outfitted with state-of-art equipment to take your idea from concept to prototype. The Makerspaces are open to all of the Vanderbilt community and serve as a hub for collaborative design and interdisciplinary activity. The mission of these spaces and the Wond’ry Makerspace staff is to provide students, faculty and staff with the tools, training, and resources to pursue their passions and actualize ideas.

Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Conference

The Vanderbilt Center for Entrepreneurship invites students, alumni, entrepreneurs, investors, and friends to participate in a one-day in-person and virtual conference focused on the challenges and rewards of business creation and growth.

Our entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nashville and the greater Vanderbilt community is rapidly growing. In partnership with The Wond’ry and OVEC, the Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to foster this growth and innovation by bringing you a dynamic lineup of expert speakers and panelists dedicated to sharing their stories and insights to help you succeed.