About the VIP Program


Program details

The Wharton Venture Initiation Program has two admissions cycles: one for the academic year (September-April) and one for the summer (May-August).  Students applying for the summer months are expected to be local for that time.

In Philadelphia, any University of Pennsylvania undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in any degree-granting program is eligible to apply. In San Francisco, any student in the Wharton MBA Program for Executives is eligible to apply, as well as any alumnus/alumna of the same program who is less than one year past his or her class graduation date. Please note that applicants to VIP SF must be in San Francisco/Bay Area during the program.

Once accepted into the program, members are eligible to remain for five continuous semesters in Philadelphia and for three continuous semesters in San Francisco, subject to satisfactory venture progress which is evaluated at the end of each program term based on students' written re-applications to the program.  Program members are expected to engage in:

  • membership in a vibrant entrepreneurial community of Wharton and Penn students
  • monthly advising sessions and monthly written progress reports
  • educational programming (regular workshops that address entrepreneurial topics)
  • networking opportunities


How to know if you are ready to apply

  • You have conducted significant research on your venture idea, including defining the business model, market opportunity, and competitors.
  • You are in a primary decision-making position (ideally a co-founder or CEO) in the venture.
  • Your team is not missing a vital member (for example, if you are a technology company and still seeking a CTO then you should wait until you have filled that position before applying).
  • You have had preliminary conversations with potential customers about your product or service and have begun integrating that feedback into your venture's development.
  • You can demonstrate how you will benefit from participation in the program as well as add value to the community.

If you are not ready to apply, you should take advantage of other Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, and regional resources to develop your venture further and consider applying to VIP in a later semester.




San Francisco