Jones Progress Awards


What's the Purpose of the Jones Progress Awards Program?

The Jones Progress Awards support graduating Seattle University students and new alums in ramping up their new businesses by providing a solid infrastructure of mentoring, grant funds, and connections within the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Who Are the Program's Sponsors?

The Herbert B. Jones Foundation has generously provided a grant to the Albers Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) to offer two $10,000 awards for two years to eligible student and alum teams.

The Jones Foundation's Mission Statement: "The Herbert B. Jones Foundation believes that entrepreneurism and small business are the backbone for the strength of our economic system. We promote this belief through the initial and temporary support of new business programs managed by post-secondary educational entities in the state of Washington. We desire the business community to be a vibrant and productive environment and the recipients of the Foundation's support to positively impact our greater business community."

How Does the Program Work?

The Jones Progress Awards are annual awards given to Seattle University student and new alum teams that successfully meet key criteria and milestones within a 6-month period.  The program involves the following components:

  • Each team goes through a rigorous application process to test its commitment, resources, and ability to take the new business to the next level.
  • A Jones Progress Awards “steering committee” provides oversight and due diligence for the overall program and making the awards.
  • A group of three seasoned entrepreneurs/mentors is assigned to each team to help establish milestones and hold it accountable for meeting them.
  • A required milestone is a 12-month operations plan.
  • Teams must meet monthly over a six-month period (July/Aug through Dec/Jan) in person with their mentor groups and provide regular status reports.
  • Teams will have access to key Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center contacts and networks and will be supported in building these connections.

What Are the Application Requirements?

  • At least one of the founding team members must be fully-dedicated and working full-time on the business (i.e. it is more than a “hobby”). 
  • At least one key executive must be a Seattle University student near graduation or an alum within three years of his/her graduation date.  This executive must actively participate in the Jones Progress Awards program.
  • The company’s team is committed to going to the next growth stage.
  • The company must have a legal structure already in place.
  • Its product/service offering is past the proof of concept and prototype phases (beta or beyond).
  • The company already has the needed resources to move to the next milestone and at least basic seed funding from owners, friends, or family.
  • It is generating some revenues and/or has clients/traction.
  • The key executive can be a student or alum from ANY Seattle University program across campus (not just Albers).
  • The key executive does NOT need to have gone through the annual business plan competition.
  • The key executive and team are coachable and willing to commit to the full program.  All meetings must be attended, without exception.
  • The key executive must complete a comprehensive intake assessment & interview with the Jones Progress Award’s steering committee.

Who Are the Recent Jones Progress Award Winners?

In 2014, Ro Health and MadDawgs Hotdogs each received a $10,000 Jones Progress Award. Ro Health is a healthcare recruiting firm headed by Jeff Widmyer (SU MBA/JD alum), while Mad Dawgs is a local hot dog food cart business (founded by Daniel Dovinh (a recent SU alum/music major).

In 2015, WLD Works (Rene Wagner, Joe Darza, Quang Lam) won the $10K award for its web development business, which participated in the SU BPC several years ago. Albers Alum Robb Monkman won the $10K award as co-founder of React Mobile, a personal safety device.

In 2016, Empower Your Neighbor (Cindy Pickreign, Maria Nassali, and Dave Brooks), won the $10K award for their nonprofit that helps women in Southern Uganda escape poverty and abusive partners by helping them achieve economic independence through breeding pigs. Stempaths (Jon Madamba), an after-school STEM program for local communities and underserved youth to learn valuable technical skills and experiences for their futures, also won the $10K award.

What Did Past Teams Learn From The Program?

Entrepreneurship requires action, and leading a business often demands the courage to make decisions in the face of tremendous uncertainty. The Jones Progress experience provided me access to mentors that helped me look at problems in a different light, and that perspective gave me the courage to make decisions and take action.

Jeff Widmyer, Ro Health Founder


"The Jones Progress Award was a six-month journey for Mad Dawg's Hot Dogs. I was mentored by four business leaders specifically chosen for me and our company's needs. In these monthly meetings, I began to mature from a business owner to a business leader with CEO qualities while our MDHD moved from being a cool small business to a focused, goal-oriented company.

Daniel Dovinh, Mad Dawgs Hot Dogs Founder



Photo of Amelia Marckworth

Amelia Marckworth

Assistant Director