September 2009

Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Partnerships (REEP)

Savannah State University, 2009 - $24,000

With support from NCIIA, Savannah State is creating the Renewable Energy and Entrepreneurship Partnerships program (REEP), comprised of two courses in renewable energy and engineering entrepreneurship: an introduction course and an advanced course. The advanced course will focus on E-Team competitions with technology prototypes and business plans. In the summer between the intro and advanced course, students will be engaged in internships with local industries. A six-week summer workshop will also be conducted, where SSU faculty will discuss renewable technology and entrepreneurship principles. Lab sessions will also be held in the workshop series for students to design and build green prototypes with accompanying business plans. After the advanced course, a symposium to share the results of the courses will be held.

Entrepreneurial Ventures for Journalists

Baruch College, 2009 - $21,200

Currently there is a collaboration between the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. They are working on The Local, an initiative to build a hyper-local news community in certain areas of Brooklyn and New Jersey as requested by the New York Times. Extending this collaboration, the two programs seek to address the journalism crisis (the idea that many consumers are not getting their news in the traditional way anymore, and that there exists a need for a new perspective to reinvigorate the journalism model). The first phase of the project consists of the launch of a new course, Entrepreneurial Ventures for Journalists. The course will be open to students in both programs. Students will work in multidisciplinary teams and progress through the problem recognition, concept paper development, and business plan development processes. Faculty mentors will be assigned to each student team. After judging by a panel of various professionals, some student-developed ventures will receive seed funding from a McCormick Foundation grant (via the School of Journalism). In the second phase, funded ventures will be accepted into the Innovation Incubator, a support system for news ventures. Business plans will be refined and elements of marketing and strategy will be developed.

Facilitating Entrepreneurship in Lighting

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2009 - $29,394

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at RPI is a well-established research and educational institution dedicated to lighting. With this grant, RPI is adding an entrepreneurial component to its MS in Architectural Sciences with a Concentration in Lighting program. To address societal and environmental needs, entrepreneurship will become an integral part of the program. With NCIIA funding, a multidisciplinary team of faculty and graduate students, along with leaders and professionals from the lighting industry, will develop a core curriculum that will make up the new entrepreneurship component. The new entrepreneurial component will include a new Leadership in Lighting Course, a master’s project (including a business plan and product prototype), as well as adding entrepreneurship to an existing Lighting Workshop. The program will be sustained by funding from RPI and outside industry partners.

E-ship Engineering Entrepreneurship Innovation Development Directive at the University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Colorado - Boulder, 2009 - $7,500

This grant will create the E-ship Innovation Development Directive at UC Boulder. The program will integrate three existing programs at UC: the E-ship program (an engineering entrepreneurship program), engineering senior design projects, and the Engineers Without Borders program. The E-ship program focuses on Engineer 2.0, today’s fast-paced, competitive engineering. The Engineers Without Borders program supports programs that implement sustainable engineering projects. It currently has over 400 projects in 47 countries. The objectives of the new program are the sponsorship of a senior design project team to work with a project leader from the Engineers Without Borders program in developing an innovation for underserved communities.

The KINDLE Student Mentoring Program

Boston University, 2009 - $33,000

As part of a restructuring effort, the technology and commercialization program at Boston University seeks to design and implement a new mentoring program. While students teams are currently mentored by BU faculty, this new program will match teams with technical and business leaders for new venture formation. Project goals include recruiting and training volunteer mentors to link with student E-Teams; providing selected teams with grants for the development of preliminary prototypes, business plans, and funding strategies; and developing metrics to measure the impact of alternative mentoring techniques through case studies.

Building a Design and Innovation Professional Masters Degree Program at the University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati, 2009 - $7,500

The Medical Device Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program (MDIEP) at the University of Cincinnati is an interdisciplinary graduate program that focuses on addressing real-life clinical problems. Design teams from the program have been recognized by the BMEIdea and ASME I-Show competitions. The program currently operates on funding from industry sponsors.

This grant will bring forth a new PSM program that will be in partnership with the MDIEP. Team members will survey their respective departments for applicable courses so that each discipline can communicate its strengths and visions. In addition, a lecture series broadening participation in the current MDEIP program will be established.

Social Entrepreneurship Program for Technology Innovation

University of Puerto Rico, 2009 - $7,500

Currently, no coursework based around innovation and entrepreneurship exists at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao (UPR-H). To bridge this gap, this grant will create the Social Entrepreneurship Program for Technology Innovation (SEPTI) at the university. The program will bring together students from physics, electronics, biology, chemistry, computational mathematics, and business into teams. In the two-series course program, the focus will be on idea generation for socially beneficial needs and the creation of business plans. Four teams will develop products, receiving individualized consultations from experts.

Creating Social Value and Pattern-Breaking Change Through Design

Art Center College, 2009 - $22,500

This grant builds on the success of DesignMatters, an educational design program at Art Center College with a social impact focus. DesignMatters has an array of work under its belt, including human-centered research and partnerships with NGOs and development agencies. Under the hospices of DesignMatters and the Design Department at Art Center, a series of new courses, Creating Social Value and Pattern-Breaking Change Through Design, will engage students in service learning through pilot applications in rural communities throughout Guatemala. The courses will be taught by faculty within the Design department, as well as those from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Caltech, the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business’s Society and Business Lab, and the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala City. The courses will be offered as two consecutive companion courses. The first course will focus on immersing student and faculty teams in field-research, conceptual development, and early prototyping. The second course will build on the ideas from the first, and allow for further field-testing, business and product development, exploration of commercial viability, and implementation at the pilot stage in Guatemala.

Technology Commercialization in Developing Countries

Rice University, 2009 - $32,000

With the purpose of addressing the astounding rates at which children in developing countries die each year due to lack of access to health technologies (often due to ineffective and unsustainable distribution systems), the Rice Institute for Global Health Technologies and Graduate School of Management will create a new technology commercialization course. The new course will focus on bringing engineering students who have already designed new health technologies with MBA students to develop business plans for these technologies in low-resource settings. Students will receive field experience in a developing country to gather information and identify local entrepreneurs and partners, and will produce and implement businesses to disseminate their technologies in developing countries.

This program will build on the success of a past course in technology commercialization course offered in spring 2009. In the course, four teams of MBA students developed business plans for assigned health technologies (created by Rice engineering students). With private philanthropic support, the students traveled to Rwanda during spring break and met with government officials and potential consumers from hospitals and clinics with the purpose of determining market size, potential consumers, price points, and product marketability. The new course will allow engineering and MBA students to work closely together in an interdisciplinary educational experience. MBA students will travel to Rwanda again in spring 2010, expanding on the business plans of former teams and developing plans for new products.

UW Environmental Innovation Challenge

University of Washington, 2009 - $15,000

In the summer of 2007, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at the University of Washington collaborated to create the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge, a contest asking teams of students to come up with working solutions for environmental problems. The first Challenge was held in April 2009, with a total of sixteen teams participating. In all, CIE raised a total of $137,900 through fundraising and donations for the first event; some major sponsors included the Wiancko Family Foundation, Siemens, UW TechTransfer, and Starbucks, among others. Nine teams were funded awards (totaling $25,000) to fund projects ranging from energy efficiency to water purification. The Challenge was created in conjunction with a new course, the Environmental Innovation Practicum, intended to inform students about current environmental challenges, as well as the efforts of researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors.