Accel Scholars

The Accel Scholars program supports Cal students in discovering the skills and possibilities of technology commercialization, opportunity evaluation and entrepreneurial leadership. This nine-month program complements the students’ research experiences with access to entrepreneurial leaders and innovative startups in Silicon Valley.

Accel Scholars delivers a comprehensive, deep-dive experience into the world of technology entrepreneurship for Berkeley EECS undergraduate students. Through workshops, team projects, case studies and field experiences, Scholars build the knowledge, skills and attitude to tackle entrepreneurial challenges and discover opportunities to leverage their research background. To support professional development, Scholars are assigned faculty coaches, as well venture capital and corporate mentors, to provide feedback and to offer different perspectives and access points to the Silicon Valley ecosystem. During the autumn, winter and spring quarters, the Scholars will meet for a two-hour session each week.

Autumn

Participate in living case studies at a diverse collection of local firms to develop a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities they face in building their ventures.

Winter

Take part in workshops focused on negotiation, team dynamics, diversity, and storytelling to develop the tools needed to become an effective leader in any organization.

Spring

Work with the teaching team, entrepreneurs, and investors to develop and deliver a class for the other Scholars, diving deeply into one aspect of entrepreneurial leadership.

Apply

Scholars will also attend workshops and retreats during each quarter of the program. The program’s schedule should be considered when applying and scheduling vacations to avoid unnecessary absences. A prospective student’s research focus does not need to have obvious commercial applications to apply.  Applications are accepted from current undergraduate students who:

  • are in good standing in their programs
  • are interested in exploring entrepreneurship

Amit Kumar, a Cal grad who works on the investment team at Accel, is spearheading the effort and pointed out that companies like Apple, Flexport, Nextdoor, PillPack and Warby Parker all have Berkeley alums as co-founders.  He doesn’t expect all the students to become entrepreneurs, but hopes that Accel will hear about new startups from the community.

EECS Chair Prof. James Demmel said the department is thankful for the opportunity to “partner with Accel and its network to provide a fast-track for an exceptionally talented and diverse cohort of undergraduates, who will benefit from mentorship by Accel but also by and from one another.”  The University of California will be contributing a research stipend.