Brown Venture Launch Fund

The Brown Venture Launch Fund (BVLF) - a collaborative project of the Social Innovation Initiative, the Brown Entrepreneurship Program, and the Office of the Dean of the College - serves the Brown community by encouraging student entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new ventures.

The fund provides seed money for new, promising ventures at the earliest stages when funding is so difficult to secure from investors. The fund also offers these ventures the opportunity to apply for three levels of progressively increasing funding using a gated award system. We accept applications and administer grants on a rolling basis. 

Students who have been awarded a Social Innovation Fellowship or funding through the Entrepreneurship Program’s Brown Venture Lab are eligible for BLVF awards.

Grant Awards

The Brown Venture Launch Fund has three levels of gated grant awards available for promising ventures (described in the table below). Ventures will typically begin with a $500 Explore grant. 

Note: BVLF is not a business plan competition. All that is required of Explore applicants ($500 grants) 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. 

As applicants apply for successive grants, they should explain what they accomplished and learned throughout the previous phases of the process, and what they hope to accomplish in the next phase. Decisions on grant awards are made on a rolling basis by the Director and Assistant Director of Social Entrepreneurship.




Application Deadlines



Support the development and testing of new ideas.





Support the continuation and/or expansion of testing or implementing an idea.




Support achieving critical milestones that will allow the project to reach a new level of impact and sustainability.

$5,000 contributed toward a broader fundraising strategy. Budgets must be at least $10,000.

Rolling – Only students who have received Explore or Expand grants are eligible

(For info about previous BVLF 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 the BVLF webpage that chronicles the development of their work through each phase. Specifically, on 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 & Advising

The application for all BVLF grants can be found on UFunds.

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