Pennovation Accelerator Summer 2021

The Pennovation Accelerator invites a cohort of local startups to engage in a six-week program to develop their business strategy and cultivate their network.  Cohort companies will participate in weekly educational sessions presented by subject matter experts.  Each company is paired with an experienced mentor to advise them on their journey. In addition, curated networking opportunities help the companies make connections into the larger Philadelphia entrepreneurial community.

The Pennovation Accelerator concludes with Pitch Day, where companies pitch to mentors, investors, and peers.

Introducing this summer's Pennovation Eco-Impact Accelerator. Companies selected for the 2021 Accelerator cohort will share a common mission to create products or technologies that have a positive impact on the environment. By solving problems related to sustainability, energy production, climate change, urbanization, agriculture, waste reduction and recycling, among other global challenges, these companies also aim to have social impact and better our communities and the world. 

With the ongoing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the importance of the health & safety of our community, we will be hosting this summer’s programs virtually. We hope to be able to reconvene the Accelerator cohort with our network in person when it is safe to do so. While the program will be virtual, we are still focusing on growing and supporting Philadelphia-based companies.


  • Applications Open: May 10th
  • Application Deadline: May 26th EXTENDED! Now open through Friday, June 4th at 5pm
  • Decision Notifications: June 7th
  • Program: July 12th - August 16th
  • Pitch Day: Week of Aug 16th [TBC]

Accelerator Structure:

Monday: Morning Session with Subject Matter Expert

Wednesday: Mentor Meetup
                     Office Hours

Thursday: Afternoon Pitch Practice

                 Curated Networking Opportunity

*Note: sessions will be hosted virtually until further notice


  • Each company is paired with an individual mentor
  • 3 months free desk membership at the Pennovation Center, when it is safe to resume physical operations*
  • Six weeks of training from subject matter experts
  • Curated weekly networking opportunities
  • Complimentary Amazon Web Services (AWS) credit package
  • Opportunity to pitch to investors at final Pitch Day*

* After completing full 6-week program


One company will have the chance to win:

  • 6 months of Pennovation Center desk membership (for up to 4 team members), when it is safe to resume physical operations*
  • Accounting Startup Package, Sponsored by Stephano Slack
  • Marketing through Pennovation Works promotional channels
  • Promotion at the PCI Ventures @ Pennovation Center Showcase poster session
  • $5,000 cash prize
  • More prizes to be announced!

* After completing full 6-week program

The Pennovation Accelerator: 2021 Eco-Impact will cover the following list of topics:

  • Branding & Storytelling
  • Market Assessment
  • Business Model
  • Team
  • The Ask
  • Pitch Prep

Ideal applicants meet the following criteria:

  • Mission: to create products or technologies that have a positive impact on the environment
  • Stage: post-MVP/Proof of Concept -> revenue less than $500K
  • Capital Raised: $0 -> less than $1M
  • Industries include (but are not limited to):
    • Consumer Products
    • FoodTech, AgTech
    • Health Tech / Med Device
    • CleanTech, GridTech, Renewable Energy, Material Science
    • Waste Reduction & Recycling
    • Robotics & Automations
    • Smart Cities & IOT

Interested in joining a dynamic group of entrepreneurs with Pennovation this summer?
Apply today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many companies will be accepted into the program?

A: Up to 10


Q: Do I have to give up any equity?

A: No


Q: Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?

A: Just like other accelerators and VC firms, we do not sign NDAs. We will respect the confidentiality of your venture / idea.


Q: We’ve been working on our startup for a while. Is the accelerator appropriate for us?

A: We are happy to work with more established startups. In fact, we are looking for companies that have a product or an MVP that’s ready to pitch.


Q: Do I have to be in the Philadelphia region?

A: Yes, under normal circumstances, we host the Accelerator in person at the Pennovation Center  in Philadelphia. Though the curriculum is remote this summer due to health & safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, we will continue to focus our Accelerator on growing & supporting Philadelphia-based companies.

Q: Does our company or team need to be Penn-affiliated?

A: No, the Accelerator is open to all companies that are in the Philadelphia region.


Q: Does our company need to be incorporated?

A: No, the current legal status of your startup does not matter to us.


Q: Does the Accelerator cost money?

A: There is no cost associated with the Pennovation Accelerator. 


Q: Where will the events take place?

A:  The 2021 Accelerator sessions will be hosted virtually until further notice. 


Q: Do I need co-founders?

A: Company teams of two or more are more likely to succeed, and that’s what we recommend for startups.


Q: What is the timeline of the application process?

A: The application window is open through June 4th at 5pm. We will review applications and make final company selections by June 7th.


Still have questions? No problem. Contact the Pennovation Team at

2021 Pennovation Accelerator Applications Open 6.4