Experiential Programs Help Our Community Learn by Doing
Duke I&E offers a wide range of co-curricular programs to support students, alumni, faculty, and staff with their interests and goals—events, competitions, guest speakers, clubs, venture support, and beyond. With the entrepreneurial mindset and skills our community gains from these and other Duke programs, they are prepared to become the next generation of impactful leaders, building a regional, national, and global supportive entrepreneurship community.
Participation in Duke I&E Co-Curricular Programs
Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs
Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs, our flagship startup accelerator for students who have launched their own companies, continues to provide an exceptional experience for a select group of founders who have demonstrated both traction and commitment with their startups. To date, the 110 student founders who have gone through the program have raised more than $21 million, with six companies making successful exits.
In 2023, the Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs accelerator supported 7 student founders, providing executive coaching, group meetings with alumni, and one-on-one conversations throughout the year with program sponsor and namesake Melissa Bernstein ’87, co-founder of Melissa & Doug toys and Lifelines.
I&E offers support to various student groups as they provide opportunities for students to learn through practice as well as hone their leadership skills:
Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator
Duke has brought our many decades of social entrepreneurship expertise to the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator, a partnership between Duke and UNICEF that increases the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of promising solutions to critical challenges facing the world’s children. By providing social enterprise teams with funding, mentorship, and other capacity-building support, this program has helped social entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge, tools, and networks needed to improve the lives of children around the world. The Accelerator has also provided additional opportunities for Duke students to work with the innovators and gain international social innovation client experience, as well as opportunities to engage Duke faculty and alumni as mentors. In 2023, Accelerator teams operated in 34 countries, leveraging the experience of 100 mentors (14 of them Duke alumni) and engaging more than 100 students.
Student entrepreneurs working on creative arts projects—screenplays, films, stage plays, choreography, poetry, manuscripts, digital media, and more—took their projects to the next level in StudioDuke, a partnership between Duke I&E, Duke Arts, and the Duke Entertainment, Media & Arts Network (DEMAN). Twelve StudioDuke students worked with notable industry mentors, providing students with an unparalleled level of support and access.
Duke Startup Showcase
At the first annual Duke Startup Showcase, 32 student founders from across Duke presented their ventures—spanning industries from med tech, to agriculture, to e-commerce, and beyond—and shared how they leveraged Duke resources to advance their companies with a packed room of alumni and community members who are potential advisors, customers, and investors.
Duke I&E Matchmaker
At the Duke I&E Matchmaker event, students from across Duke gathered to listen to pitches by nine student entrepreneurs hoping for feedback, advice, and team members to join their projects. Duke I&E Matchmaker is a forum for connecting students from across campus to form interdisciplinary teams to advance their startup idea.