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Have you started a company? Do you have customers and traction? Be a part of an amazing program that will help you grow your venture—and grow as a leader. Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs is year-long intensive program designed for current Duke students who are committed to launching and growing their ventures. It is a not-for-credit program; if selected, you will be expected to balance your coursework and other activities with participation in the program.

Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs Receive:

  • Bi-monthly meetings with a community supporting you and your venture—you’ll join other highly motivated Duke student entrepreneurs as well as Duke I&E staff members who guide your progress
  • Monthly meetings with mentors to review progress, set goals, and get advice
  • Two executive coaching sessions per semester
  • Access to up to $5,000 in funding to assist with expenses for your venture (eligibility depends on progress towards defined goals)
  • Connections to fellow Duke student and alumni entrepreneurs, industry experts, startup advisors, Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs program alumni, and others
  • Additional events and opportunities, such as attendance at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s Venture Connect summit and the Venture Atlanta Conference

Eligibility & Application

  • Applicants must be actively working on a venture; revenue is not a requirement.
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing.
  • Applicants must be able to commit to a 9-month program beginning with a welcome workshop in August 2024; final presentations are made in mid-April.
  • Applications are reviewed by program staff and mentors; up to 15 students will be interviewed for 10 program spots. Interviews are conducted in mid-May.
  • Students who have participated in Duke I&E programs will receive preference from the selection committee.

Michelle Addison MBA ’23, founder of Allergood


Uzoma Ayogu ’17, co-founder of Releaf


Courtney Bell ’17, founder of Ungraded Produce

About Melissa & Doug Bernstein

Melissa & Doug photo


The Melissa & Doug program is sponsored by Melissa Bernstein ’87 and her husband Doug Bernstein, lifelong entrepreneurs who have been in business for 30 years, created over 2,000 products, and sold more than a billion dollars in toys. They recently started another company, Lifelines, which creates sensory immersion products that help people manage stress, find calm, and advance their well-being. Melissa and Doug are passionate about sharing their experience and helping students advance their futures through entrepreneurship.

Melissa & Doug Entrepreneur Stories

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