Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pre-Seed Grants From the Trinity Entrepreneurship Center.

Information and Guidelines

Trinity College students can apply for Pre-Seed Grant funding up to $5,000 to help students after they have established a strong sense of their desired direction — as evidenced by customer research, product definition and a completed business model canvas.  Funds at this stage are typically used to prove out the business model direction — specifically, for next level expenses like full-patent application fees, marketing development and research, product prototyping, and other activities that help the company establish product/market fit and initial traction in the market.

Key Program Dates

Application Stages Deadlines
Application Apply Anytime: Application Form
Review Applications Reviewed Promptly
Grant Completion Submit Expenses During Current School Year
Unused Funds Will Be Forfeit


  • All full-time Trinity College students (undergraduate, graduate) are eligible to apply.
  • Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Preference will NOT be given to students studying business-oriented majors.
  • Students may apply as individuals or in groups.
  • Proposals may include faculty or staff in a mentoring or advisory role only, not as a group member. A faculty/staff sponsor is not required.
  • Awards are made to students. If an award is made to a group, all members of the group share it equally.

Students must apply for grants and not all applications are approved for funding.  Students apply sequentially for funding — students applying for Seed grants, for instance, should have exhausted their Microgrant and Pre-Seed Grant options beforehand.

Filing Requirements (Microgrant Requirements Plus Below)

  • Presentation Deck
  • Three-Year Financial Projections
  • Product Roadmap
  • Present live via Zoom to the Grant Review Committee

Allowed Expenses

Students are encouraged to be creative with their requests, with the one restriction that all proposed expenses must directly relate to innovation or entrepreneurship and must be packaged as some sort of specific initiative that meets a need appropriate for this stage of their company. Requests can be up to $5,000 and meet the other criteria below.

  • Market research
  • Marketing, including business cards and logo wear
  • Website development and domain registration
  • Product prototyping
  • Programming or coding
  • Provisional and non-provision patent applications
  • Legal costs for fundraising activities
  • Freelance/Consulting support

Unacceptable expenses include instances where the full expense is substantially greater than the amount of the Pre-Seed Grant, and the student cannot achieve the full coverage of the expense.  Also, grants may not be used directly for expenses related to salaries, meals, entertainment, or travel.

It is important to note that the Entrepreneurship Center will only reimburse or pay directly invoices once they have been received by the Center. At the discretion of the Center, students may be reimbursed for the invoices. or Trinity will directly pay the invoices. If any services or transactions are cancelled, funds must be returned to the Entrepreneurship Center.

Application Procedure

To receive a Pre-Seed Grant, successful applicants must:

  • Submit an Application Form including a written Proposal and Budget that demonstrates the use of 100% of the requested Pre-Seed Grant funds. A request for less than $5,000 is allowed and the student can subsequently request the balance in another request. Trinity Entrepreneurship Center staff will promptly acknowledge receipt of your application and competitively review all proposals promptly.

Proposals should be two pages (a one-page project activities narrative and a one-page budget).  The narrative proposal should allow reviewers to evaluate:

  • the appropriateness of the proposed activities to meet the clearly stated project objective, and
  • the impact these activities will have on the success of the venture.

The project narrative should also include a timeline for the completion of the proposed activities.

The budget proposal should contain all information required to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed activities/expenses, including:

  • all proposed expenditures listed in line-item format with accurate, well researched cost estimates
  • a verbal explanation of why precise budget details cannot be provided, if that is the case

Students should also submit a copy of their most recent PowerPoint pitch deck or business plan with the grant application.

Post grant, grant recipients must provide a report after the funds are spent with receipts and documentation and a budget analysis. The report should also detail the progress the student made that was aided by the grants and include photos of the students with their grant funded materials, projects, and customers as appropriate.

Students may apply for one Pre-Seed Grant during their tenure at Trinity. Any Pre-Seed Grant must be completed with a submitted report before a student is eligible to apply for another grant from the Entrepreneurship Center (e.g., a Seed Grant).

These Pre-Seed Grants are selected by and administered via the Trinity Entrepreneurship Center. Funds awarded are based on independent criteria developed by the Trinity Entrepreneurship Center.

Funds are limited and students should inquire about fund availability before applying.