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Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale

  • A Yale University innovation center supporting students in entrepreneurial or creative ventures
  • Aims to address real-world problems and support ventures
  • Programs, funding, and mentors available


Launched in 2017, the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY) works to aid Yale students in addressing real-world issues such as climate change or civic engagement, developing creative projects, or launching high-growth ventures. Tsai CITY provides resources such as programs, funding, and mentors. All of the center’s offerings strive to foster Yale’s four core outcomes: interdisciplinary cooperation, inclusivity across all dimensions of diversity, skills and practices of effective action, and resilience.

Who’s it for

Yale University students looking to build on an entrepreneurial idea or explore the tools available for innovation.


To inspire students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to seek innovative ways to solve real-world problems.

Resources & Services


Tsai CITY offers a variety of programs and events, ranging from drop-in sessions to multi-week courses. Participants can attend talks from leading innovators, community events such as pitch slams, workshops, and other opportunities to network.


Several funding sources are available to young innovators. The Startup Yale prizes offer grants of up to $25,000 each spring, with Tsai CITY managing two prizes: the $15,000 Rothberger Catalyst Prize for the development of innovative hardware and/or AI to address a medical issue, and the $10,000 New Haven Civic Innovation Prize for a venture, project, or policy to benefit the city of New Haven. The Student Catalyst Fund offers up to $3,000 to take a business or idea to the next level once a prototype has been developed, and the Student Innovation Fund provides up to $500 for supplies or other costs to advance a project.


In addition to the Tsai CITY staffers, students can draw on a network of more than 400 alumni and friends who can offer advice or feedback to aspiring entrepreneurs. There is also a peer mentoring program where fellow students lead mentoring sessions on certain topics.


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