FAQs

General

Why PROPEL?
Is this a business plan competition? Will I receive funding after I complete the program?
Do I have to pay to participate?
How can I get involved in PROPEL?
Will my company’s information remain confidential?
I’m not a life sciences company. Can you help me get started?
Who can apply?
How do I apply?
Are non-Chicago–based companies encouraged to apply?
Are non-Illinois–based companies encouraged to apply?
At what stage of development can a company apply?
What is the time commitment for PROPEL?
What is the PROPEL Code of Ethics?

PROPEL Coaching Program

What is the PROPEL coaching program?
What is the time commitment for entrepreneurs?
Where are the panels located?
Do you have coaches outside the Chicagoland area?
Who are PROPEL panelists?
Who are PROPEL coaches?


Do you have further questions? 
If so, please contact us at propel@ibio.org or call 312.422.1111 ext. 5.

General

Why PROPEL? 
PROPEL was created to bring together resources to boost success of start-up life sciences companies in Illinois. Illinois has top-tier research, talented workforce, state-of-the-art facilities and scientific collaboration, which PROPEL hopes to develop into a self-aware, highly interactive entrepreneurial community.

PROPEL is modeled after best practices of several other successful programs around the nation, which have shown to dramatically improve start-up company success rates.

Is this a business plan competition? Will I receive funding after I complete the program? 
This is not a business plan competition. PROPEL does not provide assistance to specific commercial transactions; it is at its heart an intensive educational offering that entrepreneurs can apply to their businesses.

Although you may participate in PROPEL in order to receive feedback and learn how to better prepare your company for fundraising, there are no monetary incentives associated with PROPEL. We do offer links to grant opportunities and other funding sources in the “Resources” area of our website.

To view additional resources for entrepreneurs, click HERE.

Do I have to pay to participate? 
There are no fees associated with applying to or participating in PROPEL. Some workshops charge minimal fees to participate.

How can I get involved in PROPEL? 
If you would like to participate in PROPEL as a start-up, fill out an online application.

To learn more about applying to become a PROPEL participant, click HERE.

If you would like to be a PROPEL coach or panelist, or if you or your company would like to provide educational services to PROPEL entrepreneurs, contact us at propel@ibio.org.


Will my company’s information remain confidential? 
The staff of PROPEL and the iBIO Institute will make every effort to keep information submitted with applications confidential, but do not guarantee its security. Entrepreneurs are responsible for securing intellectual property. PROPEL is meant to assist entrepreneurs with business issues, and is not designed to evaluate technology.


I’m not a life sciences company. Can you help me get started? 
PROPEL accepts applications from life sciences entrepreneurs only. There are other resources we’ve identified that may be helpful to other types of entrepreneurs in the “Resources” area of our website.

To view additional resources for entrepreneurs, click HERE.


Who can apply? 
Entrepreneurs developing life sciences technologies or life sciences–related information technology, based in Illinois.


How do I apply? 
Complete our online application to become a PROPEL participant. 

To learn more about applying to become a PROPEL participant, click HERE.


Are non-Chicago–based companies encouraged to apply? 
Yes. PROPEL serves life sciences entrepreneurs and companies from all over Illinois. PROPEL participants should expect to attend at least one in-person meeting at iBIO Institute headquarters, located in downtown Chicago, although alternative arrangements can be made. 

We can try to have the final panel presentation in Chicago or at another appropriate location, based on panel attendees and location. Coaching sessions may take place via teleconference.


Are non-Illinois–based companies encouraged to apply?
No. PROPEL serves life sciences entrepreneurs and companies from all over Illinois, but we currently do not work with start-ups based outside of Illinois.

At what stage of development can a company apply? 
Companies can and do participate from various stages of development, including: 

- Concept stage—seed-stage, preliminary disclosures or patents filed
- Formation stage 
- Venture stage 
- Restart or strategic realignment

What is the time commitment for PROPEL? 
The time commitment for PROPEL varies, based on each company’s short- and long-term goals and on which activities the entrepreneur participates. Participants can utilize any of PROPEL’s programs at any time and in any order. There is no time limit or time frame—it is a series of programs meant to assist and guide as needed by the entrepreneur and the life sciences start-up.

What is the PROPEL Code of Ethics? 
The PROPEL Code of Ethics is signed by all PROPEL participants and contributors. It serves as a guideline for all PROPEL participants and contributors regarding the acquisition and sharing of information, but it is not a legally binding document. 

All PROPEL participants and contributors agree to conduct PROPEL activities honestly and ethically and will create a reputation for honesty, fairness, respect, responsibility, integrity, trust and sound business judgment. 

To view the PROPEL Code of Ethics, click HERE.

PROPEL Coaching Program

What is the PROPEL Coaching Program? 
The PROPEL Coaching Program helps life sciences entrepreneurs refine their business strategies through one-on-one and group coaching led by accomplished business professionals and serial entrepreneurs. PROPEL assists entrepreneurs with business issues, and is not designed to evaluate technology.


What is the time commitment for entrepreneurs? 
Coaching usually takes place over a period of 2 to 5 months and concludes with a final presentation to a panel of experts. The specific time commitment is determined based on the entrepreneur’s level of need. The entrepreneur and coach will set specific milestones at the initial strategy session; both commit to putting in the time to achieve those milestones.


Phase I

  • PROPEL staff works with company to determine when the company is ready for a PROPEL coach
  • Coach is assigned
  • Initial strategy session with coach, participant and PROPEL staff

Phase II

  • Milestone meeting sessions with coach
  • Scheduling and preparation for final panel presentation
  • Final panel presentation and feedback
  • Evaluation and follow-up

Where are the panels located? 
Panels usually take place in the Chicagoland area; specific locations will be determined based on availability and appropriateness.


Do you have coaches outside the Chicagoland area? 
Our coaches are currently all based in the Chicagoland area; however, they can assist entrepreneurs statewide. We are always adding coaches to our roster and look to add non-Chicagoland coaches in the future.


Who are PROPEL panelists? 
Volunteer panelists consist of a group of 6 to 12 interdisciplinary experts, including venture capital, private equity and angel investing, intellectual property, transactional law, licensing, business development, marketing, finance and other areas as appropriate.


Who are PROPEL coaches? 
Coaches are accomplished entrepreneurs and business professionals from all sectors of the life sciences. Their achievements include leading companies through venture financing, bringing companies public, growing companies to the point where they are acquired, bringing products to the market or progressing through the final stages of FDA approval. 

To view a list of current coaches, click HERE.