‘Accelerate UConn’ Begins

Posted on May 5, 2015

New Program Prepares to Welcome Inaugural Teams of Inventors

The University of Connecticut is launching a new program, called Accelerate UConn, which will encourage and fund student and faculty teams interested in developing technology-focused start-up companies.

The program is made possible by a $100,000, one-year grant from the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps), that may be extended for two additional years.

Successful applicants to the Accelerate UConn program will qualify for start-up grants of up to $3,000, learn how to assess their technology or concept from a business perspective, benefit from the expertise of industry mentors, pursue many networking opportunities and compete for $15,000 summer fellowships.

Applications for start-up grants are due in late September. Students interested in applying should register beginning May 11. A series of workshops before the application deadline will help prepare entrepreneurial teams for a competitive application. To register for one of the launch events, go to http://www.accelerateuconn.eventbrite.com.

“I am delighted that the National Science Foundation (NSF) is acknowledging UConn’s strong pipeline of innovative technology and promising entrepreneurial growth with the designation of an NSF I-Corps site here,” said Vice President for Research Jeff Seemann, principal investigator.

“Our faculty, post docs, graduate and undergraduate students can utilize this unique tool to assess the commercial viability of their ideas at the earliest stages of development,” he said. “Accelerate UConn will help the University deliver on the promise of NextGen CT–Gov. Malloy’s initiative to expand educational opportunities, research and innovation in science, technology, engineering and math at UConn over the next decade—and Bioscience CT—a commitment to foster bioscience in Connecticut as a key component of the economy—with growth in research awards, new industry partnerships, the creation of emerging technology companies and graduates that remain here in Connecticut.”

Tim Folta, a professor of management, the faculty director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and co-principal investigator of the program, said he believes Accelerate UConn will capitalize on a growing movement.

“After being at UConn for nearly two years now, I am sensing a strong undercurrent of interest in innovation and entrepreneurship that is ready to emerge in greater force,” he said.

“We believe Accelerate UConn will energize and invigorate this interest through its Start-Up Grant program, and nurture it through entrepreneurial training and resources commensurate with other I-Corps sites around the country. We couldn’t be more pleased to launch this program in May, and ramp it up further when students return in the fall.”

Accelerate UConn welcomes teams from Storrs, all five regional campuses, the Law School, UConn Health and the Graduate Business Learning Center in Hartford. Teams from the University’s Innovation Quest (iQ) program, which also nurtures entrepreneurship, are welcome to apply.

Each three-member Accelerate UConn team will ideally have an academic or faculty member, an entrepreneurial leader and a mentor.

Accelerate UConn launch events are listed below. Interested entrepreneurs should register for them at www.accelerateuconn.eventbrite.com:

  • Avery Point, Academic Building, Room 106—May 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • UConn Health Center, Onyiuke Dining Room—May 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Storrs, Student Union, Room 304B–May 19 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Stamford, Stamford Learning Accelerator Rotunda—May 21 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

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