A Leap Toward Entrepreneurship

September 12, 2017

In August, ten aspiring UConn entrepreneurs delivered final business model presentations, marking their completion of the 2017 Summer Fellowship program, sponsored by the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI), The program is designed to help students and faculty develop the skills that they need to bring new products and technologies to market, and provide them with networking, professional services, and dedicated mentorship in order to maximize their odds of success.

Based on their presentations, and the progress that teams made over the course of the Summer Fellowship program, five of the ventures were selected to compete in the Wolff New Venture Competition, being held on Sept. 26, on campus.  The winner of that event will receive $15,000 to support the development of their venture.  Wolff Finalists include Eir Medical Devices, Hans Health, NataSure, Potentiometric Probes and Quantum Purification.

“Over the course of eight weeks, participants have an opportunity to practice core business concepts and skills, meet one on one with experienced entrepreneurs, and get introduced to leaders of professional firms that can offer them pro-bono assistance during the startup and the critical first year of their businesses.”, says CCEI’s managing director, Michelle Cote.  “Many of our mentors and program partners are UConn alumni. They tell us that they get as much value out of the program as the aspiring entrepreneurs do.”

The Wolff Prize is endowed through the Thomas John and Bette Wolff Family Chair in Strategic Entrepreneurship, established to provide leadership for teaching and research in the field of strategic entrepreneurship. The Wolff family has a long tradition of business success, personal philanthropy, commitment to the University of Connecticut. For more information about the Summer Fellowship Program and the Wolff New Venture Competition please visit ccei.uconn.edu

CTSBDC Advisor Receives “State Star” Award, Recognized Nationally

Matt Nemeth is Connecticut’s 2017 America’s Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) State Star recipient. The award is given annually to an outstanding SBDC advisor from each state.  Criteria include showing a strong commitment to small business success; making significant contributions to the state SBDC program; and being an exemplary performer.

“As a millennial and a bilingual speaker with restaurant and music experience, Matt adds diversity and strength to our team. It is my pleasure to honor his contributions to the CTSBDC and Connecticut’s business community with the State Star award,” says Emily Carter, State Director of the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC).

Matt and the other State Star recipients from around the country were recognized at the ASBDC annual conference in Nashville on September 5th, which included a show and reception at the Grand Ole Opry.

Matt credits the collaborative team of advisors at CTSBDC for the success he’s had working with his clients – “Being recognized as the 2017 CTSBDC State Star has been a great achievement that has to be credited to my amazing team.  I feel that without the support of such a knowledgeable, kind, and hardworking team I would not have the successes within my own client portfolio.”

Matt is a business advisor serving businesses throughout the Greater New London County. He has helped over 100 businesses start, secure financing, or strengthen their business since 2013.

Matt came to the CTSBDC with a lengthy professional background in the music industry as a musician and business owner.

Photo credit: American’s Small Business Development Center

Photo caption: Emily Carter, CTSBDC State Director (left) and Matt Nemeth, CTSBDC State Star (right)

UConn-TIP Summer Fellowship program

Jessica McBride, Office of the Vice President for Research

One day after national Start Up Day, 18 UConn students presented their experiences working with startup companies housed in UConn’s own Technology Incubation Program (TIP). The annual Summer Fellowship Research Day took place at the newly expanded TIP facility in Farmington at UConn Health.

For the past six years, academic departments at UConn and UConn Health have provided funding for UConn graduate and undergraduate students to gain research experience and be exposed to entrepreneurship with some of Connecticut’s high-potential technology startups. Students and startups engage in collaborations that offer students invaluable mentorships with experienced technology entrepreneurs and provide companies at UConn’s Technology Incubation Program with introductions to talented would-be employees.

Local entrepreneurs, faculty, university staff, an official from state government, family, and friends of the participants gathered at the Cell and Genome Sciences Building to hear what the students—and their mentors—learned over the course of the 10-week program.

All of the students, who come from both STEM and business fields, underscored the program’s uniqueness and the rare opportunity it provides young scientists and entrepreneurs.

“I had worked in scientific labs in the past, but this is my first experience with a startup,” said Joe Fetta, rising senior from the School of Nursing. “In a startup, you’re not only concerned with developing innovative science, you have to think about how to integrate your product into the market. It’s a whole new perspective.”

The contributions the students made varied depending on their backgrounds and the companies’ needs. Some students told the crowd important about milestones they helped their companies meet.

“This summer I helped Avitus Orthopaedics gain entry into several new markets. Our technology is now being used by surgeons throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic” said Enuma Ezeife, an MBA candidate from UConn’s School of Business.

Ezeife spent her summer immersed in sales and marketing for Avitus Orthopaedics, a medical device company developing novel instruments for minimally invasive surgery. According to Avitus CEO, Neil Shah, the startups who participate in the program gain as much as the fellows.

“We have been blown away by the quality of the students in the UConn-TIP Summer Immersion Fellowship program. After only a few weeks, we felt comfortable having Enuma meet with potential clients on her own. She really learned to speak their language,” said Neil Shah, Avitus CEO. “We’re still in the process of refining our sales strategy, and it became clear quickly that Enuma and the other UConn students from the program could really add value.”

Since founding director and UConn Health associate professor, Dr. Caroline Dealy, began the program, it has grown from just a few aspiring student scientist/entrepreneurs to a robust class of 18 UConn students in 12 different TIP startup companies. A faculty entrepreneur herself, Dealy is thrilled that the program has been able to grow and provide hands-on career training for STEM and non-STEM students.

“This year we had over 200 applicants for less than two dozen spots. There is clearly an appetite for this type of experiential fellowship,” said Dealy. “Now these students understand that entrepreneurship is how new cures, technologies, and devices are made available as products and services that benefit society. We are thrilled that the collaboration between UConn’s Technology Incubation Program, the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the School of Business, and countless departments are allowing the program to continue to grow and expand.”

According to Dr. Radenka Maric, UConn’s Vice President for Research, the fellowship program is a win-win for both UConn students and UConn-TIP companies.

“Regardless of a chosen career path, entrepreneurial skills and abilities are highly valued and in-demand in today’s economy,” Maric said. “And we know that many of our UConn-TIP companies ultimately hire the student fellows they meet through the program as full-time employees, which helps Connecticut retain the talented young workforce educated in the state.”

State Representative Derek Slap, feels this is a critical part of growing the state’s economy. When speaking to the students, Slap encouraged them to put their new skills to use in Connecticut.

“You are doing amazing things. You represent the growth we need,” said Slap. “Instead of looking outside of Connecticut for your next opportunity, help strengthen our cities, help strengthen our state. We in the state legislature want to know what you need to make that possible.”

According to Dr. Mostafa Analoui, UConn’s executive director of venture development, the UConn-TIP Summer Immersion Fellowship is one of many methods utilized to support the mutual interests of the University, emerging companies like those housed at UConn-TIP, and the state of Connecticut.

“UConn’s Technology Incubation Program is the only university-based technology business incubator in the state and we have a proven record of success. UConn-TIP has helped over 90 companies that have raised $54 million in grants and $135 million in equity and debt since 2004,” Analoui said. “UConn-TIP helps new technology ventures accelerate business and scientific progress while leveraging UConn’s resources. We are committed to helping Connecticut companies grow and training the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs for the state.”

2017 UConn-TIP Summer Immersion Fellowship Participants

  • Jayant Kanchinadham, M.B.A. candidate, School of Business
    TIP Mentor Company: Shoreline Biome
  • Kseniia Poiarkina, M.B.A. candidate, School of Business
    TIP Mentor Company: CaroGen Corporation
  • Enuma Ezeife, M.B.A. candidate, School of Business
    TIP Mentor Company:  Avitus Orthopedics
  • Ethan Cope, M.S., Professional Science Masters’ program, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; matriculating D.M.D candidate, School of Dental Medicine
    TIP Mentor Company:  Oral Fluid Dynamics
  • Vijay Kodumudi, M.D. candidate, School of Medicine
    TIP Mentor Company: CaroGen Corporation
  •  Alex Gojmerac, M.S., Professional Science Masters’ program, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
    TIP Mentor Company: Azitra
  • Ciera Hunter, B.S. candidate, Physiology/Neurobiology, College Liberal Art Sciences
    TIP Mentor Company: Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Innovation Center
  • Brendan Clark, PharmD candidate, School of Pharmacy
    TIP Mentor Company: Reinesse
  • Joe Fetta, B.S. candidate, School of Nursing
    TIP Mentor Company: Reinesse
  • George Andrews, B.S. candidate, Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering
    TIP Mentor Company:  Avitus Orthopedics
  • Rosalie Bordett, B.S., Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering
    TIP Mentor Company:  Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Innovation Center
  • Rachel Crossley, B.S. candidate: Pathobiology, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources
    TIP Mentor Company: Torigen Pharmaceuticals
  • Meghan Farrell, B.S. candidate, Communications, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
    TIP Mentor Company: Diameter Health
  • Stephanie Gomez, B.S. candidate, Medical Lab Sciences, College of Agriculture, Health & Natural Resources
    TIP Mentor Company: Medisynergics
  • Alyssa Matz, B.S. candidate, Molecular & Cell Biology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
    TIP Mentor Company: Torigen Pharmaceuticals
  • Orvy Polanco, B.S. candidate, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering
    TIP Mentor Company: Innovation Cooperative 3D (IC3D)
  • Taylore Westbrook, B.S. candidate, Computer Science & Engineering, School of Engineering
    TIP Mentor Company: Biorasis
  • Hao Xu, 2nd year Pharmacy candidate, School of Pharmacy
    TIP Mentor Company: Biorasis

 

http://www.newbritainherald.com/NBH-New+Britain+News/296311/program-gives-college-students-realworld-experience

Financial Technology Meetup

August 7, 2017

When: Monday, August 21st, 2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: 1194 Washington Blvd., Stamford, CT

Program:

6:00pm – 6:10pm Register and Networking

6:10pm – 6:45pm Open Forum re: the future of this Meetup and how to build community on the local FinTech Foundation. This forum will operate almost as an organizational meeting of what is interesting to members, ideas for future meetups, and a community building exercise.

6:45pm-7:30pm Dan Berg, CTO, RockIT Solutions With the rapid evolution of FinTech, state and federal governments are being forced to reimagine how the financial services industry will be regulated. Dan will provide an introduction to the emerging vertical of RegTech and future opportunities and challenges. A 10-15 minute question and answer period will follow.

7:30pm Opportunity for networking with other members.


Information:

A meetup is a community of people interested in the same topic that are organized to get together regularly to learn more and network. 

 1) It is open to anyone. 

2) Registration is available vis-a-vis the meetup website, I’ve attached it here. First, you register with meetup.com, then you join the meetup you would like to join, then you register for the events that you will attend. 

3) The program is listed on the site for August 21, 2018. You will also see the registration.

TIP Fellows Research Day

UConn-Tip Research Day was held on August 2, 2017 at the Farmington Technology Incubator. The event featured short talks and posters from this summer’s UConn-TIP Fellows, as wells as, lunch and a keynote talk by Mary Jane Rafii, PhD, MBA, and successful entrepreneur in the biotech space. There were 18 UConn graduate and undergraduate students in the program this summer.

Program gives college students real-world experience
by: Charles Paullin 

 

NEW BRITAIN – Two students from Central Connecticut are getting real-world experience while pursuing careers in their fields of interest.

Ethan Cope of Kensington and George Andrews of Terryville recently participated in the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program (TIP), a summer immersion fellowship program.

“It’s not your usual experience; there’s a lot more put onto you,” said Cope, who earned his master’s degree in microsystems analysis in June before beginning dental school at UConn.

“Because it was with a small startup, you were exposed to so many different fields” said Andrews, who is entering his junior year, majoring in biomedical engineering.

The 10-week program, consisting of 18 students sponsored by their respective academic departments and based at the Cell and Genome Sciences Building of the UConn health facility in Farmington, pairs Connecticut startup companies with UConn undergraduates, graduate and recent graduates.

“When you’re in kind of a startup environment and there’s less people in the company, you might be doing a lot more than what you initially expected,” said Cope. “You kind of open your mind and explore opportunities more openly.”

Cope worked with Oral Fluid Dynamics and tested how sterilization affected a membrane flux and salt rejection for a medical device that he wasn’t allowed to go into specifics on because the product is still in early stages of development.

This meant coordinating the effort to procure membranes from Yale University, testing them on the variable sterilization methods and then returning them to Yale for study on the findings.

“I never thought I might go into sales, but now I may,” said Andrews.

Andrews worked with Avitus Orthopedics in the sales department, coordinating its marketing effort and scheduling meetings with doctors to discuss the distribution of a unique bone harvesting device.

This involved taking a trip to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland to test the product and learning the technique of cold-calling doctors to sell the product.

Throughout the program, seminars were held.

The program culminated with a Research Day at the headquarters, where MaryJane Rafii, a leader in the biotech industry, gave a keynote speech.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.

http://www.newbritainherald.com/NBH-New+Britain+News/296311/program-gives-college-students-realworld-experience

 

Faculty Grants (VentureWell Opportunities)

June 6, 2017

Up to $30k grant opportunity to help students develop inventive, STEM-based ideas and gain entrepreneurial skills. RFP opening in August.

 

get funding and support to pioneer new ways to engage students in stem innovation and entrepreneurship and grow your campus i&e ecosystem

VentureWell is excited to announce new faculty grant opportunities for Spring 2017. We are seeking proposals for two new focus areas that will support the emerging generation of inventors and innovators and the i&e ecosystems critical to their success.

Our Faculty Grants help fund and support faculty with innovative ideas to create new or transform existing courses and programs to help students develop novel, STEM-based inventions and gain the necessary entrepreneurial skills needed to bring these ideas to market. The Spring cycle has three areas of focus:

Focus 1: Innovation and Invention Education for the First Year Student:
Many undergraduate students are not exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship until their final year in courses such as the capstone design. We can better prepare students for these culminating experiences and increase the pipeline of student inventors and innovators through early exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship education.

This focus offers a two-phase grant opportunity:

  • A $5,000 Phase 1 planning grant and workshop
  • Grantees from Phase 1 who have completed the workshop are invited to apply for the Phase 2 grant of up to $30,000 to develop and implement their plan

Focus 2: Faculty Fellowship for Student Venture Development:
Many university students have access to innovation and entrepreneurship programming on their campuses, but many do not gain support or funding beyond local ecosystems. Because of this, student teams often lack key knowledge that would make them desirable to national venture development programs.

VentureWell is seeking proposals from faculty who are interested in preparing student entrepreneurs to be competitive beyond their campus; improving their own skills for teaching invention and innovation to solve real-world problems, and exploring new ways to teach entrepreneurship concepts.

This focus offers funding, training, and support:

  • $10,000 in grant funding for curriculum development, course materials, and travel
  • Attendance at E-Team Stage 1 workshop and access to the curriculum

Focus 3: Pathways-Scale and Institutionalization: (open only to Pathways premium members)
Up to $30,000, to scale or institutionalize one or more components of your campus innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

*For this Spring 2017 grant cycle we are accepting proposals only for these three focus areas. If you would like to submit a proposal on another topic, please submit to the Fall 2017 cycle (deadline November 8).

For complete details on each focus, click on the read the guidelines links on the right.
For questions please contact: grants@venturewell.org

 

Link to more information

E-Team Program (VentureWell Opportunity

Up to $25k grant opportunity for student teams. Applications dueOctober 4.

 

Venturewell helps student inventors make impacts on the world.

We fund and train student inventors and entrepreneurs who want to address important problems in the world through new technology-based ventures. Our E-Team Program provides funding, immersive workshops, and specialized coaching to student STEM innovators to help them move their inventions into the marketplace.

E-Team program. Grants and training to help university entrepreneurs move ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace. Stage 1, Market Discovery: 50 teams; Key objective: Discover the best market for the invention; $5,000 in funding. Stage 2, Business Model: 20 teams; Key objective: Develop and validate business model; $20,000 in funding. Aspire: Investment Readiness: 10 teams; Key objective: develop a case for partners and investors to invest in the business; Opportunity for further funding.What’s an E-Team?
An E-Team—or Entrepreneur-Team—is a multidisciplinary group of students and faculty working together to bring an invention to market. Here are some of our top E-Teams.

Eligibility
There are five questions to ask:

  1. Do you have a science or technology invention?
  2. Could your invention scale to address a social or environmental need? Some examples of types of technologies we fund include medical or healthcare-related
    devices, clean energy technologies, and technologies for low-resource settings.
  3. Does your team include two or more students (grad or undergrad)?
  4. Does your team have a faculty advisor?
  5. Is your university a VentureWell member? Check your school’s membership status.

If the answer to all of those questions is yes, then the E-Team Program is for you. Read the detailed guidelines.

 

Link to more information

Student Engineers Monitoring System for Bridges

May 31, 2017

Kevin McMullen, a structural engineering Ph.D. student at UConn, has designed a bridge-safety monitoring device.

 

In the middle of a June night in 1983, a 100-foot span of the Mianus River Bridge in Greenwich, Conn., collapsed, plunging two cars and two tractor-trailers into the river 70 feet below.

Three people died, three were seriously injured, and diverted I-95 traffic snarled local streets for six months. Inspections revealed that an undetected fatigue crack caused the catastrophic bridge failure.

Kevin McMullen, a structural engineering Ph.D. student at UConn, is too young to remember that tragedy. But he has designed a bridge-safety monitoring device that might have prevented it. He’s hoping his company, NexGen Infrastructure, can revolutionize transportation safety.

Using force-sensing pads that continuously monitor bridges, the system can warn engineers about a bridge that is overstressed. The pads can be installed on a new bridge or one that is being repaired. The system doesn’t replace human inspection, but can help establish priorities in a nation where one in 10 bridges is structurally deficient.

“Our hope is that if something is going drastically wrong with a bridge, engineers would be alerted that the bridge needs to be inspected right away,’’ he said. “We are anticipating that the federal government and state departments of transportation will feel it is a worthwhile investment.’’

McMullen recently received a $40,000 grant from the UConn School of Engineering in partnership with Connecticut Innovations. This award is given to engineering students with promising technologies, to help them enter the marketplace. Ironically, the award is called the Third Bridge Grant.

“Not much has changed in infrastructure over the last few decades,’’ McMullen said. “More recently, new technologies are being developed for infrastructure and civil engineering. This push towards innovation makes me know I’m in the right field.’’

McMullen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UConn in 2015, smiles when asked how he developed his passion.

“As a kid, I built with Legos and loved creating things,’’ he said. “When I decided what to study at UConn, civil engineering was the choice for me. And for some reason, I’ve just always loved bridges.’’

He is working on a Ph.D. thesis about a new, streamlined bridge-repair process that would be more cost-effective and minimize traffic disruptions.

“Many people surrounding me at UConn, including Professor Hadi Bozorgmanesh, who teaches an entrepreneurship program for graduate students, and my adviser, Professor Arash Zaghi, have really pushed innovation and got me thinking out of the box,’’ said McMullen.

“UConn has been very instrumental in getting my company off the ground. The Third Bridge grant I was awarded is helping me to start my company and bridge ‘the valley of death,’ so when I leave UConn, I can hit the ground running.’’

 

 

 

 

Claire Hall

Link to original article: http://today.uconn.edu/2017/05/engineering-student-devises-monitoring-system-bridges/

Spring 2017 UConn IDEA Grant Award Recipients

May 1, 2017

Congratulations to the 29 UConn undergraduates who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants! 19 of the award recipients will be completing individual projects, and 10 will be working on collaborative group projects.
The award recipients represent a variety of disciplines, from nursing to elementary education, animal science to biomedical engineering. They will work on designing prototypes and software systems; producing short films, graphic novels, and animations; developing educational programs; and conducting independent research.
Special thanks to the faculty and staff that supported student applications to the UConn IDEA Grant and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects.

See the full list of winners here.

HackUConn 2017

April 28, 2017

The UConn Entrepreneurship and Innovation Society hosted the second annual HackUConn event on March 24th into the 25th in NextGen 012.  A hackathon is an event that promotes a collaborative effort among teams to innovate and invent.  The HackUConn event brought together motivated students, industry sponsors, and experienced mentors to encourage networking, creativity, and problem solving in a fast-paced team-oriented environment.

The theme this year was Living with Allergies: Reimagining the Solution.  Student teams had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts at the conclusion of the event.  The event was sponsored by The KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C, the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium, First Year Programs and Learning Communities, and Residential Life.

Coverage of the event included The Daily Campus (http://dailycampus.com/stories/2017/3/27/innovation-and-creativity-at-second-annual-hackuconn) and UConn Today (http://today.uconn.edu/2017/03/student-innovators-create-solutions-allergies).