Many students wish to delve into entrepreneurship but feel pressured to accept internships with consulting firms and established organizations over the summer. The Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator provides those student the opportunity to follow their dreams in a structured and supportive program that includes hands-on training and the ability to build their professional networks.  

Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator is a 10-week summer intensive that enables students to continue growing their startups in the summer and build off the momentum that they generated in the spring semester. Supported by the plethora of Cornell and Ithaca entrepreneurial resources, startup teams:  

Applications and Eligibility

JSSA is a summer-long intensive that helps graduate student-led teams from the SC Johnson College of Business.

JSSA is designed for students to pursue an internship or other opportunities during the summer while working on their startup and attending programming virtually. Participants will be required to attend Zoom workshops on Tuesdays from 10 am – 12 pm and 3 – 5 pm but will have the freedom to work on their startup and meet with mentors on their own schedule. 

Applications for summer 2024 are now closed.

Vrinda Kadiyali Student Entrepreneur Fund

The Professor Vrinda Kadiyali Student Entrepreneur Fund provides stipends to MBA students so they can continue building momentum with their startups while they participate in the Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator between their first and second years. The stipend empowers MBA students to stay focused on their startups, while reducing the financial pressures they may face to accept a paid corporate internship.   

The Kadiyali Fund gives MBA students the opportunity to move their startups forward with coaching, connections, and training from the Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator. Students who are selected for Kadiyali funding are required to spend the summer working solely on their startup. Students who have applied to JSSA will be evaluated by an award committee to be selected for the Kadiyali stipend. 

The Experience

Christina Coleman headshot

Christina Coleman, Executive MBA Americas ’23 

During her Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator (JSSA) experience, Coleman took what she learned about the customer discovery process and not only applied it to her startup ScriptLink, an app where aspiring screenwriters can find writing partners to hone their craft while expanding their industry network, but also to her career. JSSA provided Coleman with a platform to quickly test assumptions about ScriptLink’s original product idea, allowing her to pivot, develop and test new assumptions, and walk away with a more viable customer solution. The skills and concepts that Coleman learned during JSSA went way beyond ScriptLink, however, making her JSSA experience that much more valuable.

“I was prepared to connect and talk to anyone about anything, and I was able to draw learnings from all conversations I had in new ways,” Coleman said. “JSSA is great for someone who may want to dip their toe in the entrepreneurship pond or need to play catch-up if they hadn’t considered it seriously before – I was definitely the latter.”

Steven Zychowski headshot

Steven Zychowski, Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership ‘23

Prior to the Johnson Summer Startup Accelerator (JSSA), Zychowski’s idea for CheckOnMe, an app that uses real-time health data to create automatic wellness alerts and curate a mental-health safety net for the new age, was just that – an idea. Through JSSA’s weekly workshops and dedicated mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, Zychowski was able to turn his idea to reality. With JSSA’s flexible nature, Zychowski was able to do this while balancing a full-time job, and although that meant devoting his spare time to doing customer discovery interviews and conducting research, the exposure to world class leaders and experiential learning opportunity paid dividends.

“Before JSSA, CheckOnMe was just an idea, unrefined and raw. Through the course of the program, I was able to begin executing my vision and really start to build something special. There is still a long way to go to getting people the mental health support they need as early as possible, but without JSSA, CheckOnMe would still just be an idea,” Zychowski said.