May 2011

mystartupXX: Empowering the Next Generation of Female Technology Entrepreneurs

University of California (UC), San Diego, 2010 - $28,600

Despite female entrepreneurs now making up nearly 50% of all entrepreneurs in the US, female founders are severely underrepresented in technology startups—in the first six months of 2010, 92% of technology startup founders were males. But at the same time, data shows that women-led high-tech startups generate higher revenues per dollar of invested capital and have lower failure rates than those led by men.

This grant supports development of a new program at UC San Diego, mystartupXX, (named for the female chromosome) that will target female students for invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education. The program objectives are to: encourage and empower women to participate in the technology startup process; stimulate the formation of E-Teams led by female students; and provide high quality education and training on new venture creation and personal development for women entrepreneurs as leaders of high performance teams.

The teams will receive three months of intensive mentoring and one-on-one business coaching, participate in educational workshops and seminars, learn how to apply management principles to team building and effective leadership, evaluate technology strategies, perform market opportunity assessments, and create the value propositions, business models and financing strategies needed to launch a business. The program will culminate with a demonstration day, where teams will present their ideas to potential investors.

Certificate Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2010 - $35,500

The grant supports the creation of a cross-disciplinary, healthcare-focused Certificate Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The certificate will consist of a four-course sequence team-taught by faculty from engineering and the arts, with product ideas based on needs articulated by local healthcare and medical institutions. Students will receive professional assistance in technology transfer, patenting and licensing from UWM's Office of Technology Transfer and the UWM Research Foundation.

The four courses are: Creativity & Design Processes; Ergonomics, Innovation and Design; Product Realization; and Innovation and Commercialization.

Identifying Needs and Exploring Solutions in Developing Regions

Brown University, 2010 - $26,500

This grant supports development of a three-part (spring-summer-fall) undergraduate experiential learning curriculum that is part of a larger initiative with corporate partners that comprehensively addresses developing world needs. In the spring, students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design will form into teams and learn ethnographic observation techniques that will develop their skill in uncovering needs and understanding situational constraints in developing regions. In the summer, they will take ten-week trips to the regions themselves, doing more observation and problem-finding. In the fall, they will create new solutions to problems they encountered. The PI is partnering with IBM to provide platform technologies and other resources that could be adapted to developing world needs.

The students will focus on four themes: healthcare in rural Africa; water in India; communication trends in developing countries; and commerce in informal settlements in Africa.

Commercializing Student Designed Technologies for the Disabled

University of Detroit Mercy, 2010 - $26,000

Despite isolated successes at University of Detroit Mercy in producing creative devices that benefit individuals with disabilities, there remains great opportunity on campus to utilize student creativity in helping the underserved in society. In particular, there is substantial unmet need for assistive technologies.

This grant will help to transform the UDM capstone process from generating isolated successes into an effective conduit for new assistive technologies to reach the marketplace. Three objectives will be accomplished through this grant: integrating healthcare professional input and control into the capstone design course; guiding students to develop products for use by the disabled populace; and encouraging and supporting students to formulate E-Teams to commercialize their designs.

By the end of the capstone course, students will have a road map to pursue commercialization of their designs, with the ultimate goals of effectively meeting the needs of disabled people and enhancing student learning.


Energy Innovation for Campus Carbon Neutrality

Clemson University, 2010 - $25,400

There is an existing multidisciplinary course at Clemson University in which students analyze energy and carbon dioxide emissions on global and local scales. Students evaluate both demand-side (more efficient buildings and transportation) and supply-side (solar and wind) strategies for reducing emissions. The course deliverable requires students, working in an E-Team format with faculty and industry professionals, to develop and evaluate innovations contributing to carbon neutrality for the Clemson campus.

This grant will enable Clemson to offer further support to teams at the end of the course each year. At the end of the course, E-Teams will be selected to receive prototyping and consulting support, allowing them to pilot-test their innovations and evaluate scalability through a network of over 675 colleges and universities committed to carbon neutrality. This program will also result in a guide for the other 675 institutions, shared on a central website, which will help produce similar courses and E-Teams nationwide.

Development of Social Entrepreneurship Capstone Project Course at Lehigh University

Lehigh University, 2010 - $23,000

This grant supports the development of a new undergraduate curriculum at Lehigh University that brings together students from the social sciences, business, and engineering to focus on the creation of entrepreneurial enterprises that address the social and economic issues of the working poor and homeless. In the curriculum, interdisciplinary groups of students will follow Lehigh’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) process to create innovative and sustainable solutions to local community problems.

Specifically, NCIIA funding will support the following objectives: development of a new social entrepreneurship undergraduate curriculum that will conclude with a capstone project; development of a year-long pilot capstone project, “Bethlehem’s South Side Urban Agriculture Enterprise,” that will focus on developing and implementing a business model, social system, and technology infrastructure required to address the needs of that community while establishing a self-sufficient, scalable enterprise; and development of extracurricular social entrepreneurship activities with an initial focus on urban agriculture, including student competitions, guest speakers, and a social entrepreneurship club.

Developing a Marketing High-Technology Products and Innovations Course

University of Maryland, 2010 - $44,100

With the Hinman CEOs program and Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), the University of Maryland has a substantial technology entrepreneurship community with a number of resources for early stage ventures and startups. However, there are currently no undergraduate courses at UM that address the marketing of technology products and innovations. At the same time, while Mtech currently serves over 700 students annually through technology entrepreneurship and innovation courses, the overall rate of venture creation is less than desired.

This grant supports development of a new course, “Marketing High-Technology Products and Innovations,” proposed as a part of the required Hinman CEOs curriculum and to be offered to all students throughout campus. This course will merge the academic side of learning marketing concepts with their applications in real life.

Interdisciplinary Environmental Entrepreneurship

Norwich University, 2010 - $26,500

The Norwich University campus, situated in northern New England, comprises a wide variety of structures from LEED-certified to “antique,” and is in many ways indicative of the building stock of its community. In order to create a sustainable campus, faculty and students from the Center for the Integrated Study of the Built Environment will team with the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and an environmental entrepreneur to evaluate campus buildings and develop entrepreneurial solutions to issues identified in the process.

Specifically, this grant will help create and pilot an interdisciplinary, two-semester, entrepreneurial “green building” program involving E-Teams comprising seniors in business, architecture, engineering, and construction management. The teams will employ Building Information Modeling to create a virtual model of structure on campus, perform energy modeling on it, and develop green solutions to problems they encounter and devise commercialization strategies for them.   

Course and Program: December 2010

Congratulations to our most recent Course and Program grantees!

Green Technology for Sustainable Poultry Vaccine Manufacturing

University of California, Davis, 2010 - $20,000

Epidemics of recent emerging infectious diseases, such as the H1N1 pandemic, demand cost-efficient and scalable production technologies that can rapidly deliver effective therapeutics to clinics. Traditional vaccine manufacturers have trouble meeting these needs, as their manufacturing processes are slow and not economically scalable. Developing world populations are especially burdened by lack of access to effective and inexpensive therapies.
This team is developing SwiftVax, a plant production platform that produces animal and human vaccines efficiently and affordably. The technology can rapidly produce large amounts of therapeutics with minimal investment compared to traditional vaccine production infrastructure.
This grant will help in developing a proof-of-concept that will bring SwiftVax-produced vaccines closer to market. The team’s initial target product is an animal vaccine for Newcastle Disease, a devastating and highly pathogenic disease in poultry. The disease threatens commercial poultry in developed countries as well as the livelihood of disadvantaged populations in Africa, to whom chickens represent the main source of food and income.