Explore Grants

Explore Grants (previously known as the Brown Venture Launch Fund) serve the Brown community by encouraging student entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new ventures. It is a collaborative project of the Social Innovation Initiative, the Brown Entrepreneurship Program, and the Office of the Dean of the College.

These grants provide seed money (up to $500) for new, promising ventures at the earliest stages when funding is so difficult to secure from investors. They also offer these ventures the opportunity to apply for three levels of progressively increasing funding using a gated award system. 

Please note: This is not a business plan competition. All that is required of Explore Grant applicants is a clear understanding of a problem or opportunity, a vision or plan for a project or venture to fill this need, and a readiness to take action. 

To read about previous Explore/Brown Venture Launch Fund grantees: 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15

Requirements & Expectations

  • Awards will be granted to individuals or teams. At least one member of the team must be a Brown University undergraduate and a founder of the venture (or comparable leadership role).
  • Award recipients are expected to be active participants in programming and resources that Brown’s entrepreneurship community offers (EP & SII).
  • Each venture needs to create a profile for their project on our website that chronicles the development of their work through each phase.  
  • Specifically, upon receiving the award, the venture should submit a 300-500 word project overview that outlines how the venture will use the funds, the immediate goals for the venture, and how the venture will evaluate its progress in meeting those goals. After award, the venture should submit a 300-500 word personal statement/evaluation report on the learning experiences of the venture's leadership team.

Application Process 

The application for Explore Grants can be found on UFunds. We accept applications and award grants on a rolling basis. 

To discuss your idea with someone on Team SII, click here to sign up for office hours with Alan Harlam or Lizzie Pollock.