the Werth Innovators program

Who are Werth Innovators?

UConn undergrads in any major who are interested in entrepreneurship and creating something they are passionate about. These students may not know what they want to create or how to do it, but are looking for help in making it happen.

When do students apply?

  • Rising sophomores located in Storrs and Stamford apply in April. Selection is made in May and the program starts in September of their sophomore year.
    • Rising juniors with a Werth Institute staff nomination can also apply in April.
  • First-year women located in Storrs apply in September. Selection is made in October and the program begins in November of their first year.

Who Should Apply?

Students across all majors interested in building and growing their skills, confidence and leadership experiences while exploring the world of entrepreneurship and growing their network should consider applying. The value a student gains as a Werth Innovator is defined by the student. Each student has unique goals, ideas or projects to pursue and The Werth Institute provides personalized support in the forms of goal setting, skill-building guidance, networking opportunities, mentorship, leadership and ambassadorship opportunities. Students are selected based upon their innovative projects, entrepreneurial mindsets, and their passion in an area they are driven to problem solve in.

What are the benefits of being a Werth Innovator?

Being a Werth Innovator means you will have access to unique life-transformative opportunities and be a proud member of one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial leadership development programs. Benefit highlights include:

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  • Weekly support, guidance and resources to explore the problem they want to solve or idea they want to advance. Includes 1:1 and group Werth Innovator meetings
  • 1st year women receive an additional $4k paid summer internship to develop their idea
  • Career exploration
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  • Participation in unique events, travel and experiential learning associated with entrepreneurship
  • Networking practice and growth through alumni visits and guest speaker events
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  • Development of an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset including leadership, project management, problem solving, and communication skills.
  • Lasting friendships through a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals.
  • Increased self-reliance, emotional intelligence and a sense of belonging.

What are the responsibilities of Werth Innovators?

  • 1-2 volunteer hours per month in entrepreneurship related programs and activities
  • UConn Gives champion
  • Peer support and mentorship to other Werth Innovators
  • FYE class guest speaker
  • Posts on LinkedIn to promote Werth Innovator programs and events
  • Involvement with the Werth Institute post-graduation including an opportunity to be a mentor for the NetWerx program

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“Once a Werth Innovator, Always a Werth Innovator”



Werth Innovators selected to date (since 2018)

Awarded over


in scholarships to Werth Innovators (since 2018)



majors represented across 7 schools



of 2021 spring graduates worked for an entrepreneurial-related company or started their own venture

Werth Innovators in the News

Aria Penna '25 (BUS) has found a passion in entrepreneurship and innovation through her work for the Werth Institute. (Contributed photo)

Month of Discovery Student Researcher: Aria Penna, BUS ‘25

Aria Penna's transformative journey at UConn, from a law school hopeful to a budding entrepreneur and finance enthusiast. This story is part of the Month of Discovery series. Read on UConn Today

A pilot cohort of 11 first-year women will take part in a new effort through UConn's Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to support upcoming women entrepreneurs. (Contributed Photos)

With “Rocket Fuel” Pilot Program, Werth Institute Sets Sights on Supporting First-Year Women Entrepreneurs

A new program launched by UConn's Werth Institute aims to empower undergraduate women to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Read on UConn Today

Astou Diallo '23 Diallo actually decided to attend UConn because of the entrepreneurial opportunities that The Werth Institute offers students. (Peter Morenus/UConn photo)

UConn’s Werth Institute Recognized for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education

Not even four years old, the Werth Institute is already being recognized as an innovator in the field. Read on UConn Today