The Blast Furnace is the University of Pittsburgh student idea accelerator that provides student entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills they need to commercialize their ideas. The program gives students of all levels across the University access to a deep mentor network, co-working space, and a hands-on, experiential curriculum.

Upon completion, students are ready to launch their business, raise funding, or apply to accelerators such as AlphaLab, AlphaLab Gear, Ascender (formerly Thrill Mill) and IdeaFoundry. The Blast Furnace was created by the University of Pittsburgh’s Innovation Institute for Pitt students at all levels who have a desire to be entrepreneurial, create new products, services or businesses and receive hands-on learning on how to accomplish these dreams.

Program Structure

  • Nine (9) week commitment with two sessions per week help during the summer in May and June
  • Access to a deep bench of experienced mentors and coaches
  • The conclusion is a specialized program for participants in the student accelerator and the Innovation & Entrepreneurship community


Applications to the Blast Furnace will open Spring 2019.

This is an advanced student accelerator for established teams and ideas to receive in-depth coaching and mentorship to bring their idea to market.  This program is open to anyone with or without Pitt IP. If you would like to discuss your idea with one of the Innovation Institute’s Entrepreneurs in Residence for Student Programs , feel free to reach out and set up an appointment.

Students are also encouraged to attend the next Innovation Igniter. In this two-hour workshop, you will be introduced to the Business Model Canvas, which helps you discover the value your innovation may offer customers, who your customers are and where you might find them.


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