Category Archives: Entrepreneurship Programs

Kauffman Foundation Grant to StartX (Stanford Student Accelerator)

There is so much going on at Stanford University that its almost impossible to keep track of all of the initiatives. StartX, an accelerator for university students, received a big commitment for additional funding from Kauffman. From the Kauffman Foundation press release:

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced an $800,000 grant to StartX, which runs a startup accelerator for university students, to support expansion and national scaling of the program.

StartX, formerly SSE Labs, was initially launched in 2010 by Stanford students to accelerate the development of the best Stanford student entrepreneurs through experiential education. Kauffman’s grant will help StartX scale its current services and build a model for replication.

“StartX has taken important initial steps to develop an experiential education-based program for founders at the university level,” said Wendy Torrance, Kauffman director of entrepreneurship who leads the Foundation’s curriculum development. “Our grant will help StartX further develop its curriculum and program and identify a model for replication, while bolstering its capacity to gather and analyze data on its work and crucial outcomes.”

StartX, a non-profit organization affiliated with Stanford University that takes no equity from its portfolio companies, has received applications from more than 6 percent of the Stanford student population each year. To date, StartX has supported more than 240 founders and 90 companies in several markets, including clean tech, biotechnology, enterprise, consumer internet/mobile, hardware, healthcare technology and social enterprise. In total, StartX companies have raised more than $70 million in funding.

Will be interested to see how it scales and would like to know how StartX differs from other channels students use to launch firms.

via Kauffman Foundation Announces Grant to StartX.

Food Truck Rivalry on Campuses | WSJ.com | Campus as Market

My earliest memories of campus food trucks date to UW Madison in the 90s (a great weekend road trip from Chicago) and consumption of late night snacks from a variety of tasty trucks. This blog has posted on food trucks as many student entrepreneurs start with food trucks as a low cost option.

Moreover, campus as market, a theme explored frequently in my research and on this blog, is congruent with the rise of the food truck industrial complex (see previous blog entry).

The Wall Street Journal has offered great coverage of the growth of food trucks and some of the backlash against this burgeoning food service segment (incumbents=restaurants don’t like them!).

Sanette Tanaka of WSJ.com has a great piece on the growth of food trucks on campuses across the US. Tanaka on the newest rivalry on campus:

College officials say running their own food trucks brings in more revenue for the universities. They also can tailor menus to fit the student body. The University of Texas at Dallas plans to debut its first food truck this fall, featuring a fusion menu of Asian, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines to reflect the school’s large number of international students, who make up 19% of the student body.

Aramark Corp. and Bon Appétit Management Co., two companies that manage food services for universities, say they have seen an increase in demand for college-run food trucks, especially as a way to offer late-night dining options and serve remote areas of campus. Aramark says it will add nine more university-run food trucks this fall, and Bon Appétit says it will add five.

In total, nearly 100 colleges have their own university-run food trucks, compared with only about a dozen five years ago, according to the National Association of College and University Food Services, which represents about 550 higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

Many universities don’t allow outside food trucks to come onto campus. But some, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, grant limited access to select independent vendors. MIT, in Cambridge, Mass., doesn’t take a cut of the vendors’ revenue or profit, but charges a flat rate for the trucks to park.

GMU Arlington has a middle eastern food truck in front of Founders Hall on a regular basis while the main campus in Fairfax seem to offer just an old school hotdog cart — no problem with that — but its a far cry from today’s innovative food trucks.

via Food Trucks: The Newest Rivalry on College Campuses – WSJ.com.

Venture Camp: Entrepreneurship Summer Series

The last session of the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s Summer Venture Camp is 1 August 2012.  Join us as we uncover the role that universities and colleges can play in helping you launch your career as an entrepreneur. What can we learn from Facebook, Google, Nike, and other campus based startups? What is available to everyone in the DC Metro (NoVa, MOCO, Baltimore etc)

Venture Camp: Entrepreneurship Summer Series – Eventbrite.

Venture Beat on College Classes That Serve as Incubators

Christina Farr of Venture Beat profiles some of the top classes at US research universities that are being used by students to launch firms:

Given the amount of preparation and forethought it takes to start a company, you may think it ludicrous to expect entrepreneurial success in a semester or two.

Yet, a handful of programs across the country have produced their fair share of fresh-faced CEOs. The lesson here? If they can do it in 10 weeks on a shoestring budget, you can too. The nationwide frenzy for entrepreneurship can in large part be attributed to a select group of college classes that train and mould lazy co-eds into fully-fledged business leaders.

Warning: usual suspects such as Stanford and MIT are written up in article, as well as some lesser knowns such as Wash U in St. Louis.

via From MIT to Stanford, college classes where a startup is the final exam | VentureBeat.

MSU Celebrates Student Entrepreneurship | Starkville Daily News

A few semesters ago, three students in my New Venture Creation class wanted to pursue the retail breathalyzer market. They chose to create a campus activity app instead. Today I learned from Steven Nalley at the Starkville Daily New that some Mississippi State students have pushed into the breathalyzer market and have done well with their idea (Night and Day Vending) on the business plan circuit.

Parker Stewart is a true competitor.

As CEO of Night and Day Vending, which distributes breathalyzer vending machines called IntoxBoxes, Stewart has entered several student entrepreneurship competitions in association with Mississippi State University. Jesus J. Valdez, a marketing research associate with MSU’s Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship, said Stewart not only placed first in the MSU Investing in Innovation’s Student Elevator Pitch Competition, but also third in the student division of the Mississippi Technology Alliance’s New Venture Challenge in Jackson.

Valdez said Stewart’s competitive spirit stretches across the business spectrum and beyond.

“Every competition (Stewart has) been in, he’s placed in, which speaks volumes,” Valdez said. “Last night, there was a competition in bowling with a lot of student entrepreneurs, and he came in second.”

via MSU celebrates success in student entrepreneurship | Starkville Daily News.

University Efforts Grow in Support of Student Entrepreneurship | Chronicle of Higher Education

I was fortunate to speak with Beckie Supiano of the Chronicle of Higher Education as she put together a piece on the efforts of various universities to support student entrepreneurs. From Supiano’s To Develop Student Entrepreneurs, Colleges Incubate Their Idea (sub required):

Beyond student demand for entrepreneurship training, worries about the weak job market are driving colleges’ response. Teaching students to start their own businesses is one way to give them a leg up after graduation. And some institutions see a responsibility to foster job creation more broadly, especially in their own backyards. To that end, they are increasingly offering majors and minors, incubators and accelerators, business-plan competitions and internships—anything from a single academic course or co-curricular program to an array of opportunities—for interested students.

Lots of great information and coverage of many incredible programs and student entrepreneurs. I am quoted and referenced near the end of the piece. Supiano writes,

“The campus is the new frontier for entrepreneurship,” says David J. Miller, director of entrepreneurship at George Mason University’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship. For his Ph.D., he is researching the conditions that allow college students to start successful firms. He is using the historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s theory of the American frontier.

Like the frontier, colleges provide assets, Mr. Miller says: space and human resources. They offer an unregulated atmosphere with no one person or entity fully in charge. And they are diverse places, both in the traditional sense and in that they bring together scholars from many disciplines.

Turner thought the frontier set the stage for America’s success as a nation. Now colleges are trying to make that kind of mark on entrepreneurship.

Colleges Become Startup Factories | Crain’s New York Business

Phil Auerswald (The Coming Prosperity) shared a great piece by Steve Garmhausen of Crain’s New York on the city/region’s universities and colleges. From Garmhausen:

“One of the greatest gifts you can give an entrepreneur is time,” said Mr. Parthasarathi, co-founder of CourseHorse, an online catalog of classes available in New York City, from dance and acting to computer programming.

But money wasn’t all that NYU’s Stern School of Business provided the pair. Throughout the months-long process, they received extensive coaching and mentoring from a total of 20 veteran entrepreneurs and other experts. The result is a business that has generated revenue from the day it opened, said Mr. Parthasarathi.

And Mr. Parthasarathi’s story is not an isolated one: In recent years, New York’s colleges and universities have ratcheted up their commitment to supporting budding entrepreneurs. With courses, mentoring, networking and cash awards, they are growing crops of would-be entrepreneurs that they say are far better prepared than their predecessors.

One of the latest manifestations of the trend: the February launch, by Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, of an entrepreneurship lab that aims to facilitate collaborations between students in schools as diverse as nursing and business. Continue reading

Rise and Challenges to Campus Entrepreneurship | The Daily Princetonian

Michael Youngblood pointed to this great piece on the rise of entrepreneurship at Princeton University. From Michael Granovetter and Carla Javier of the Daily Princetonian

In 2007, Nikhil Basu Trivedi ’11 traded his home in the Bay Area — an arm’s length from the Northern California, Stanford-infused entrepreneurship scene — for a new home in Princeton, N.J. But when he arrived on campus, he said he was struck by the absence of a thriving entrepreneurship culture. The Princeton Entrepreneurship Club, the supposed hub of campus start-up life, had about five involved members.

Over the past five years, the entrepreneurship scene — both private-sector entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship — on campus has seen rapid growth. Though the E-Club once had just a handful of members, today it lists 44 officers on its website. Students interested in forming start-ups have turned to the E-Club as the dominant on-campus resource.

The University has responded to this increased student interest by creating the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education in 2005 and offering more courses geared toward entrepreneurship.

Although the E-Club is taking the lead in support for student-led start-ups, student entrepreneurs say they want more. They want more flexible options for students to stay enrolled while still being able to pursue entrepreneurial passions. They want Career Services to do more to provide students with opportunities with start-ups rather than in finance and consulting. They want the University to provide more of these opportunities so students don’t have to depend solely on alumni connections.

via The rise of, and challenges to, campus entrepreneurship – The Daily Princetonian.

2012 Wharton Venture Award Winners | Entrepreneurship Programs

Thomas Baldwin at the Wharton Journal has brief interviews with the 5 recipients of the Wharton Venture Award.

After a highly competitive selection process, five student-led ventures were selected to receive the 2012 Wharton Venture Award (WVA). The WVA Program provides selected student entrepreneurs with $10,000 in funding to pursue the development of their ventures during the summer between their first and second years. WVA is one of several high-impact programs sponsored by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs (WEP) as part of its ongoing mission to foster entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the Wharton community.

1Docway (Samir Malik WG ‘13)

What: 1DocWay is an online doctor’s office. We connect hospitals with underserved patient populations, through our lightweight technology and implementation service. With 1DocWay, rural, elderly, disabled, and busy patients can schedule appointments online and see their doctor through our secure video chat platform. In doing so, we help hospitals expand their reach of services into underserved areas, building hospitals’ referral base; we work with underserved care facilities to increase access to specialist physicians and improve community health/wellness; and we help physicians improve scheduling flexibility and revenue by expanding their patient pool.

Inspiration: I had always been a start-up kind of guy. I had experience with a few prior startups and when I saw an opportunity to innovate in healthcare, from my perch as a healthcare consultant, I dove right in. Healthcare is a huge space in need of disruption.

Wharton: The HCM program has been a fantastic resource in that I have been able to connect to numerous brilliant colleagues who bring a wide range of perspectives on the healthcare space. My business has got many holes shot through it because of peers in HCM and that has made it stronger and more robust.

Continue reading

How Schools Can Teach Innovation – WSJ.com

Over the past few months we have worked with Startup Mason in a peer to peer environment where our founder offer opinions on our shared learning materials, but also on each others projects.

What I am struggling more generally with, and I spoke at length with Zoltan Acs recently about this — customers creating content. How do we get students and other stakeholders to play a role in content creation. I argued that many other industries engage their customers on products (from software to consumer product firms) while in our tech driven age many firms now depend on their customers creating content in order to survive (from WordPress and Facebook to Craigslist and Oracle). WSJ has a piece by Tony Wagner asking how schools can teach more creativity and innovation.

Though expertise is important, Google’s director of talent, Judy Gilbert, told me that the most important thing educators can do to prepare students for work in companies like hers is to teach them that problems can never be understood or solved in the context of a single academic discipline. At Stanford’s d.school and MIT’s Media Lab, all courses are interdisciplinary and based on the exploration of a problem or new opportunity. At Olin College, half the students create interdisciplinary majors like “Design for Sustainable Development” or “Mathematical Biology.”

Learning in most conventional education settings is a passive experience: The students listen. But at the most innovative schools, classes are “hands-on,” and students are creators, not mere consumers. They acquire skills and knowledge while solving a problem, creating a product or generating a new understanding.

Wagner a Felllow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard and author of the forthcoming, “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, later writes,

Mandating that schools teach innovation as if it were just another course or funding more charter schools won’t solve the problem. The solution requires a new way of evaluating student performance and investing in education. Students should have digital portfolios that demonstrate progressive mastery of the skills needed to innovate. Teachers need professional development to learn how to create hands-on, project-based, interdisciplinary courses. Larger school districts and states should establish new charter-like laboratory schools of choice that pioneer these new approaches.

Creating new lab schools around the country and training more teachers to innovate will take time. Meanwhile, what the parents of future innovators do matters enormously. My interviews with parents of today’s innovators revealed some fascinating patterns. They valued having their children pursue a genuine passion above their getting straight As, and they talked about the importance of “giving back.” As their children matured, they also encouraged them to take risks and learn from mistakes. There is much that all of us stand to learn from them.

via How Schools Can Teach Innovation – WSJ.com.