Since its inception in 2009, students in Penn State Berks’ E-SHIP minor have developed new venture ideas involving information technology (IT), including mobile applications and cloud-based services. However, students have found it hard to prototype and test their ideas.
This grant will support the development of a Virtual Incubator (VIB) at Penn State Berks to help E-Teams get their IT ideas off the ground. The VIB is conceptualized as a virtual environment that provides E-Teams with high-end IT resources as well as technical and business support through partnerships with academic and industry experts. The VIB will consist of a host server, a sandbox (virtual IT resource pool) where students can develop and test their ideas, a software repository, and a website.
This grant supports the launch of an interdisciplinary graduate-level specialization at Ohio State University, referred to as the Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Academy. Led by the campus Center for Entrepreneurship, the specialization will integrate the graduate educational programs of science and technology with business, design and law. Central to the program will be the formation of E-Teams seeking to commercialize emerging OSU technologies.
This effort will include the creation of at least four new courses and numerous modifications to existing courses to accommodate interdisciplinary teams, live technology projects, participation of executive mentors, and engagement with university inventors. Through the TEC Academy, the center plans to train as many as fifty research faculty and more than 200 graduate students each year how to assess the commercial potential of new technologies.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, 2011 - $35,400
This grant supports a new collaboration between Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and Babson College titled "Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship." In the program, students will work in distributed teams with communities around the world to develop innovations in areas such as energy, water, health, agriculture, transportation and communication. An ideal student path would be to complete an internship with an initiative partner, take the course for two semesters, work for a mission-driven company or NGO as an intern, and be part of launching a new social venture. The plan is for projects to last 2-3 years, with dozens of students “getting on and off the (project) bus,” as the PI acknowledged that one course or one year is not enough time for this the necessary technology and business model development.
This grant will provide funds to cover community site visit expenses while the program becomes self-sustaining. The main objective is to give teams the funds they need to perform early-stage market and prototyping tests to advance their ventures forward.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 2011 - $25,700
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) serves a diverse regional community of 38% Native Americans, 32% Caucasian, 25% African Americans, and 5% Hispanic and others. UNCP is located among the poorest counties in the nation, with unemployment over 12% and a poverty rate of 31.1%. In order to help the economy of this region, UNCP’s Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship promotes entrepreneurship education and provides free consulting for local entrepreneurs.
The goal of this grant is to enhance the entrepreneurship education activities on campus, providing quality offerings to UNCP students and forming the basis for a stronger entrepreneurial environment in the area. Originally supported by a 2010 NCIIA Course and Program planning grant, this grant will help UNCP faculty in developing new courses and programs for students and area entrepreneurs, including E-Team development, entrepreneurship-focused academic programs (certificate, minor, concentration, and MBA), competitions (elevator and business plan), and consulting for local entrepreneurs.
New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2011 - $29,500
This grant supports the development of a new four-year research, design and entrepreneurship program for undergraduate honors students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The program, Interdisciplinary Design Studio (IDS), will recruit high-achieving honors students from all disciplines during their freshman year. They will form into multidisciplinary teams and develop innovative solutions in specific theme areas, including point-of-care healthcare technologies, sustainable infrastructure and architecture, green energy, and smart transportation systems.
IDS teams will also develop business, marketing and financial plans and will each be paired with a corporate partner. Projects will be further explored for incubation and potential commercialization through the NJIT Enterprise Development Center.
In higher education today, courses in business planning are typically taught only in business schools and are focused on US-based for-profit ventures, rarely catering to the different challenges and dynamics encountered with social entrepreneurship endeavors. This course, developed initially with a spring 2010 NCIIA Course & Program planning grant, is dedicated to business planning for social ventures in the US and abroad. The course will cover the fundamental concepts of social entrepreneurship and use diverse case studies and experiential learning activities to help students develop an understanding of social problems and devise innovative solutions to address them.
The goal for this course is to eventually become a required class for the restructured certificate program in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program at Penn State. HESE is leading several international technology-based social ventures, including infrastructure development, telemedicine, cell phone-based social networking, and a three-year degree program to train entrepreneurial secondary school science teachers.