northeastern university

Accelerating Student E-Team New Venture Creation through the Application of Industrial Design and Structured Seed Funding

Northeastern University, 2010 - $9,000

This grant, which builds on a previous NCIIA grant funding student technology projects in Northeastern University’s School of Technological Entrepreneurship, seeks to round out the program by adding two major components: 1) the inclusion of design students and mentors on E-Teams and funds for creating industry-grade prototypes, and 2) giving student teams access to incremental seed funding.

Northeastern will work in collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Students from the Mass Art Product Development Lab will be integrated into Northeastern’s I-Cubator teams. Based on student team investment pitches, teams will be given the opportunity to raise funds of up to $3,000, with a strategic focus on design as a key project component. At the end of the one-year program, projects may then be commercialized, returned to the I-Cubator for a second year, or terminated.

Roland Fomundam - Northeastern University


November 2010

  • Held an Invention to Venture workshop, with 70 attendees.
  • Started a new monthly entrepreneurship speaker series.


Roland is a graduate student in the School of Technological Entrepreneurship at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. He holds a BS/BA in Biology and Business Administration from Northeastern University as well. Prior to coming to Northeastern University, he attended Bristol Community College in Fall River where he founded the first Science club to promote science awareness on campus. The club also organized science fares, inviting and integrating initiatives from local schools. His entrepreneurial ability started at age 17 when he co founded, Chapman Biomedical, a sales and distribution network of generic medicine to rural clinics and hospitals in Cameroon, W. Africa. He acclaims himself as a youth champion; with a strong believe that today’s challenges can be collectively transformed by the collaboration of youth across the globe.

When not in class, he spends time working for Youth Action Africa, a nonprofit organization he founded with a mission to seek innovative ways to alleviate Africa’s myriad crises of health and poverty. He also enjoys travelling and interacting with diverse populations. This has rewarded him with the knowledge of speaking  up to 7 languages. Besides traveling, Roland enjoys playing soccer, ping pong and being an apprentice at a local golf course.

Roland's vision

Drawing inspirations from Peter Drucker’s assertion that, ‘Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth’, and technology being the catalyst to bond both concepts, entrepreneurs can provide new approaches needed to hasten the process of development and well being of the entire nation.

By combining innovative ideas from individuals and investments from public, private, and civil society organizations, such entrepreneurs can guide complex systems and institutions toward their goals. As a student ambassador for NCIIA, I strive to create a system that will ignite innovative ideas from all disciplines to provide tentative solutions to resolving complex global issues.


A Collaborative Effort to Integrate Engineering Design and Industrial Design Curricula for Entrepreneurial Technological Product Development

Northeastern University, 2006 - $5,000

In 2003, a NCIIA Course and Program grant provided Northeastern with the opportunity to redesign and restructure its entrepreneurial studies curriculum to respond to business and engineering faculty assessment. The assessment was instrumental in the formation of the School of Technological Entrepreneurship (STE), which integrates students from business, engineering, industrial design, and computer science in cross-discipline teams for innovation and enhanced learning. However, industrial and engineering design instruction is not fully integrated into the curriculum, and students may not collaborate on this critical aspect of product development until after graduation, when they are working in a commercial firm. This grant intends to fill the gap by developing a new curriculum that creates a cross-institutional collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Art.

The new curriculum will integrate the instruction of engineering and industrial design functions in two shared courses with MassArt, Introduction to Product Design and Capstone Product Design. In Introduction to Product Design, NU engineering design students and MassArt industrial design students will attend two lectures weekly and gain an appreciation of the industrial and engineering design tasks that must be performed concurrently during the development of a successful product. In the Capstone Product Design course, engineering and industrial design students will collaborate to produce a solution to a technical product need from problem analysis through prototype fabrication. Students will form a minimum of six teams, and will work with faculty mentors and alumni entrepreneurs.

Development of a Multi-Disciplinary New Product Development Course

Northeastern University, 2008 - $29,000

This grant is helping to create a course focusing on new product development within early-stage entrepreneurial firms at Northeastern's School of Technological Entrepreneurship. The basis for course instruction lies in, first, focusing on team formation, market planning, and early product concept definition, and second, on product selection and planning methodology. The course is expanding on a previous NCIIA Course & Program grant, which funded a collaborative effort between Mass Art and Northeastern, resulting in conceptual product designs for the Dell Computer ReGeneration green design competition. Student teams will be made up of members from Northeastern and Mass Art.

Digital Maze Games

Northeastern University, 2007 - $15,900

The Digital Maze (DM) is a software game that challenges students with multiple choice questions in order to discover the maze exit. DM can be used in class or for homework and can be applied to disciplines as diverse as medicine, law and science. The team sees the game as a textbook supplement targeted to college professors, textbook authors and academic publishers.

The team believes that current games rely too heavily on repetition and memorization, while DM relies on a more cognitive learning process, creating a more intense gaming environment.

GEEN 1400: Designing for the Community: Practical Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Courses

This project supports the integration of E-Team development into an existing course in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Lab (ITLL), a progressive, high profile program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The course currently requires students to complete group work for clients; the focus of this project is the development of more entrepreneurship-related content and a greater focus on commercialization within the course.

Developing Solutions to Real World Problems

Northeastern University

In GE 1103 Engineering Design, first-year students work in teams of three or four on design practice modules that incorporate a broad range of engineering disciplines to develop solutions to real problems. Problems addressed in the course include humanitarian demining in third world countries, increased ozone in the troposphere, and the multiple problems experienced by refugees in troubled areas like Goma, Zaire.

The class serves several functions: first, it introduces students to the different disciplines within engineering; second, it helps students gain an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of engineering problem-solving; third, the class provides students with the opportunity to address a range of valuable problems; and fourth, it allows the faculty to integrate their personal experiences and expertise with a set of core topics in engineering and design. The course integrates with a campus-wide E-Team recruiting effort throughout the school's Entrepreneurship Program.

Project on the History of Black Writing

University of Virginia-Main Campus

The Project on the History of Black Writing E-Team is developing a omprehensive bibliographic database of African-American novels in an interactive learning environment on CD-ROM and, by license, on the internet. A prototype CD-ROM is under development that includes author biographies, full texts of novels, photographs, pointers to critical sources and advanced search tools. Much of the literature on the CD-ROM is now out-of-print, making this a valuable resource. The team intends to develop a range of indexed bibliographic offerings in an electronic format for distribution to scholars and libraries worldwide. Initial market surveys indicated substantial interest in the product among academic and municipal libraries.

Students and faculty from Northeastern University, the University of Virginia, and James Madison University collaborate on different aspects of the project, calling on the strengths of each institution, in the first virtual E-Team. The content is provided by NEU, the programming by UVA and JMU.

This E-Team joined the Project on the History of Black Writing eleven years after it was founded by the Cooperative Research Network in Black Studies. Since 1984 the Cooperative has compiled an extensive bibliography of writing by African-Americans in the last century and a half, including over 2,000 records. The work of the E-Team makes this previously inaccessible bibliographic resource available to a wider audience.

Virtual Security Research

St. John's University - $8500.00

The Virtual Security Research (VSR) E-Team recognized a lack in affordable and creative security systems for the Internet. To fill the gap, the team evaluated existing software solutions and made improvements in usability, user interface, and security.

The team received second prize for their business plan in Northeastern University's $60k business plan competition. They then founded Virtual Security Research in 1998, and have since been focused on providing quality network and application security consulting services. They have clients in the financial services and commercial software sectors
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