Ignition Fund awards are judged in two rounds: submission of an online proposal and an oral presentation. Applicants are selected for the oral presentation based on committee review of the online proposal.

2016-2017 Application Deadlines: 

  • Fall: N/A
  • Spring: April 3, 2017


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The application process will focus on the problem you are solving for a market/audience, your approach to solving that pain point, and how you will use your funding.   To complete your application, you will need the following information: 

Idea Description and Project Proposal

Provide an overview of your idea and detail your plans for carrying it out. Appendices and supporting materials such as recordings, manuscripts, market research, etc. will be accepted but are not required.

Please use the following questions and prompts to guide you as you develop your summary.

About Your Idea

  • What is your idea?
  • Who are the intended beneficiaries or customers? Why do they need what you are providing?
  • Position your idea. What differentiates you? That is, what are you providing to your target market that nobody else is?
  • What drew you to this issue? Why are your driven to develop your idea? What skills, experience, and insights do you bring? If you have already begun working on your idea, describe what you have done so far.
  • If you are applying as a team, give an example of how you have worked together successfully in the past. If you have not worked together previously, explain why you feel that your team will be effective in carrying out this project.

About Your Project

  • Describe your proposed project. How will it help you to develop your idea? What are your goals? What exactly will you do? Outline the approximate timeline, expected location(s), and projected outcome(s) of your activities. Be sure you are clear about how the Creativity Fund award would support your project.
  • Explain what happens next. How will your experience carrying out this project inform your overall vision for your entrepreneurial venture?


Please provide a summary of the expenses associated with your activities and expected revenue from other sources (if any). Please note the following stipulations on expenditures:

  • Expenditures on acquiring (not renting) capital goods (such as laptops, software, and equipment in general) may not exceed $100.
  • Students may not pay themselves a salary, though they may pay others directly for their services.
  • Award money may not be spent on liquor.
  • Download a sample budget here.


Please provide the name and contact information of two references, one of whom should be an Oberlin College faculty member or administrator familiar with your work as it relates to this project. References should be included for each student working on the project.


Please submit a one-page resume for each student principally involved in the project.

Oral Presentation

Select students who have submitted an online proposal will be invited to give a 5-minute pitch followed by questions from a small panel.