Steven Dorfman Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Eligibility Criteria

Download the full guidelines

Cal Lutheran Connection

  • Required: A Cal Lutheran student or recent alum (max. 1 year post-graduation) must be involved in the startup, preferably as a co-founder but at a minimum as an employee, intern, research assistant, apprentice or other role that gives the student hands-on experience in some aspect of managing and operating the startup, and who will be directly involved in the activity related to the use of funds. Cal Lutheran student must be enrolled full-time, or plan to be enrolled full-time as part of the grant application. Students minoring in innovation and entrepreneurship preferred.
  • Preferred: A Cal Lutheran alum involved in the startup, preferably as a co-founder with a substantial equity stake in the company.
  • Nice to Have: A Cal Lutheran faculty member or staff employee involved in the startup.


  • Most Preferred: Based in California, incorporated in California or Delaware
  • Preferred: Based in the USA, incorporated in California or Delaware
  • Acceptable: Based in the USA, incorporated elsewhere in the USA
  • Ineligible: Based outside the USA

Stage of Progress

  • Pre-Seed: Concept, Pre-Incorporation, and Pre-Revenue will be considered.
  • No more than $2M in revenue.
  • No more than $1M in outside investment.
  • If incorporated, no more than five years old.
  • Innovative idea or concept.

Awardee Type

  • Acceptable: Cal Lutheran student founders
  • Acceptable: all others, provided that part of the grant is earmarked for incorporation
Corporation, For Profit
  • Preferred: B or C corporation or LLC (or foreign equivalent)
  • Acceptable: Subchapter S corporation (or foreign equivalent)
Corporation, Non-Profit
  • Individuals and corporate officers must agree to submit to a background check

Acceptable Use of Funds

  • Wide range of latitude
  • Expenditures that engender educational experiences are highly preferred and expected
  • Founder salaries and stipends of founders and relatives must be disclosed and strictly adhered to
  • Funds cannot be invested in any sort of financial instrument (including crypto)
  • Conflicts of interest with suppliers or an recipients of funds are strictly forbidden


  • Startups with legally, morally, or ethically questionable business models
  • Startups that are active in areas promoting the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, controlled substances, pornography or that may be harmful to the mission or the reputation of the university in any way.

Period of Performance

  • Grant to be spent over a period of two calendar years or less
  • Educational commitment to be completed within 6 months of full grant expenditure.