The best ideas have the potential to enhance existing businesses or launch new ones — provided they have the opportunity to grow and develop. At UConn, various programs and services, professional development opportunities, centers, and societies and clubs are dedicated to helping ideas succeed. No matter what your interests, experience, or expertise in entrepreneurship, there’s a resource at UConn to help.
Programs and Services
Accelerate UConn (AU) helps faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduate students determine the commercial potential for new ideas, technology, and products and develop strategies for bringing their innovations to the marketplace. Using the I-Corps framework developed and endorsed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Accelerate UConn leverages resources from across the University in order to provide specialized support to UConn entrepreneurs.
CT Small Business Development Center
The Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) provides no-cost, confidential advising services to both prospective and existing entrepreneurs to help them start or grow their business. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can meet with professional business advisors to learn more about startup planning, marketing, loan package development, industry trends, going global, growth strategies, disaster preparedness and more.
CTSBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the University of Connecticut. The SBDC program remains one of the nation’s largest small business assistance programs in the federal government with a proven track record of providing 35 years of service to small businesses.
In addition to no-cost consulting services, the CTSBDC implements special programs including PrepareCT, a program designed to help businesses create a disaster-recovery plan; and Virtual CTSBDC, an advising service where businesses can receive assistance via Google Hangouts at participating statewide libraries.
For more information about the Connecticut Small Business Development Center and the services available to small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the state, visit GrowCT.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
The Connection is a newly conceived, organic network linking practicing engineers and businesses with our faculty, students, and resources. It is our aim for the Connection to become a uniquely symbiotic affiliation.
IP and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic
The UConn School of Law Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (“IP Law Clinic” or “Clinic”) provides patent, trademark and copyright services to Connecticut’s innovators and entrepreneurs as part of an instructional and experiential learning program. Services are provided by law students under the supervision of experienced intellectual property attorneys and include, but are not limited to, performing patentability and trademark clearance searches and related reports, drafting patent and trademark applications, and interacting with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in the procurement of U.S. patents and federal registration of trademarks. The Clinic also provides counseling services in regard to copyright matters and assistance with the registration of copyrights in the U.S. Copyright Office.
As part of this instructional program, the IP Law Clinic students apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world situations so as to gain practical intellectual property experience and exposure to a wide array of legal issues that will enable them to be productive IP practitioners upon graduation from law school.
OPIM Innovate is an initiative started by the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department in the UConn School of business. The goal of this initiative is to give students, faculty, and staff hands on experience with emerging technologies in business. OPIM Innovate is a great opportunity for students to be able to walk in and learn from other students about how they can use new technology to solve complex problems.
Our initiative hosts a number of services in our Innovation Space and Gladstein Research Lab located in the OPIM department on the Storrs, CT campus. We have equipped our space with various emerging technologies including Virtual Reality (VR), 3D Printing, Internet of Things (IoT), Microcontrollers and Data Analytics devices. Our services include self-paced learning activities (Tech Kits), equipment and space reservation for projects, and daily tech demos. The Gladstein Research Lab is also host to our workshop series on various emerging tech topics such as blockchain, data visualization, and artificial intelligence.
Quiet Corner Innovation Cluster
QCIC, funded by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA), UConn, and Connecticut Innovations, supports business growth potential of small and medium-sized technology and manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) in rural Tolland, Windham, and New London Counties. QCIC forms partnerships with select SMEs to enhance or expand their product and service offerings by leveraging UConn’s extensive R&D capabilities and office of commercialization. SMEs that participate in the program collaborate with faculty who specialize in their particular area of focus and benefit from the new Proof of Concept Center at the UConn. In addition to the POCC, UConn will be creating the new Connecticut Manufacturing Simulation Center (CMSC) to enable SMEs rapid prototyping capabilities and further facilitate growth.
Technology Incubation Program
The Technology Incubation Program (TIP) offers unsurpassed value to high-tech start-ups and spin-offs. TIP offers wet and dry labs, offices and co-working spaces in Storrs, Farmington and Avery Point as well as access to instrumentation, research services and collaboration with scientific experts. TIP also provides customized business planning and mentoring services to help prepare it’s companies for their fund raising and sales pitches. The goal of TIP is to accelerate the success of new ventures and new products. TIP tenants, while typically startups, also include university partners expanding their capacity and commercializing technology though a relationship at the University. TIP is part of the Technology Commercialization Partners (TCP), UConn’s tech transfer enterprise and a division of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). Its location within the TCP and the OVPR offers a birdseye view of intellectual property, research capacity and expertise that can enable the success of TIP companies.
VentureWell is a national non-profit organization which supports and funds innovation and entrepreneurship on campuses across the US for students and faculty development. UConn is a member and therefore all students and faculty are eligible to take advantage of VentureWell’s resources.
Verge Consulting Group
Verge Consultants (VCs) are graduate and professional school students who work with CCEI, the UConn School of Law, and Connecticut's SBDC to help UConn startups overcome the hurdles of entrepreneurship. Through a partnership with Connecticut Small Business Development Center, Verge Consultants get the opportunity to work directly (with mentorship from SBDC) with UConn and Connecticut-based startups. The internship can be paid, or for credit.
Innovation Quest (IQ)
One of the most popular programs on campus, Innovation Quest (iQ) welcomes budding entrepreneurs, from all UConn schools and colleges, to present interesting and viable business ideas. Sponsored by the School of Business, the competition typically fosters close to 100 teams who compete for both monetary prizes and a priceless invitation to iQ’s summer “InQbator.’’ The program was brought to UConn in 2011 by alumnus and entrepreneur Keith Fox ’80. “With each year, the projects grow in complexity, and the innovations are powerful, impactful and exciting,’’ said Management Professor Rich Dino, who is the program director. Previous winners have developed everything from a new, easier-to-use hospital nurse-calling system to an attachment that prevents fishing lines from tangling.
Technology Commercialization Services
Technology Commercialization Services strives to translate academic achievements, methods and results into real-world products, services and innovations. The program brings together UConn researchers and the business community to enhance the commercialization and impact of UConn research, assist UConn faculty, staff and students in their quest toward company formation, secure patent protection, and generate support for ongoing applied research projects.
Professional Development Opportunities
xCITE is an initiative designed to inspire, connect, and support Connecticut’s women in the process of leading the next wave of innovation and entrepreneurship in our state. Hosted by the University of Connecticut, participation will help female innovators: identify key areas of opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship; develop skills critical to launching and leading innovative and entrepreneurial projects and ventures; connect with peers, resources, and support services in Connecticut’s business community.
SCOPE Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The UConn School of Business is proud to participate in this program, which is designed to give focused, practical training in the tools and skills of new venture creation and growth and provides a support structure for graduates of the program.
Center for Excellence for Teaching and Learning
The Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL) is dedicated to the support and advancement of best practices in teaching and learning at the University of Connecticut. The staff of CETL work with individual faculty, teaching assistants, students, departments and the academic administration to create a culture which values teaching and learning, supports and rewards faculty for innovation in teaching, encourages respect for differences in learners and provides an environment where faculty, staff, and students work together to accomplish learning objectives. The connections that CETL has developed provides unparalleled support for faculty seeking connections for scholarship, relationship and project development.
Center for Open Research Resources and Equipment
The Center for Open Research Resources and Equipment (COR²E) promotes and supports the growth of research at UConn by serving the University’s world-class research faculty (as well as the rest of the UConn community and UConn partners).
Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation helps UConn students and faculty develop the skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs. CCEI offers entrepreneurial training and new venture support programs for faculty, staff and students across the University. Programs such as Accelerate UConn, Verge Consulting, the CCEI Summer Fellowship program, and our Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Initiative help aspiring entrepreneurs identify and analyze the market opportunity for new products and technology, and once proven, build scalable and sustainable business models that help bring game-changing new products, services, and technologies to market. CCEI also works in partnership with and supports several other entrepreneurial initiatives within the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, including: the TIP Summer Internship Program, the Nursing Shark Tank event, HackUConn, reSET Summer Internship Program, the Forum on Healthcare Innovation, and the xCITE women’s entrepreneurship conference.
Hosted by the Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation at the University of Connecticut (CSI), CyberSEED brings together top information security professionals and business leaders to discuss emerging cybersecurity trends and formulate best strategies for tackling current and future threats. In the same academic setting, dozens of universities and colleges compete in unique cybersecurity challenges for prizes.
Greenhouse Studios forges diverse and democratic collaborations that build humanities scholarship in new formats to engage new audiences. The design-thinking philosophy of Greenhouse Studios encourages non-hierarchical collaboration between librarians, faculty, students, designers, and university press partners. Greenhouse Studios projects are led through a five-stage process–Understand, Identify, Build, Review, and Release–designed to encourage collaboration and make all team members equal stakeholders in the project.
Societies and Clubs
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Society
The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Society attracts future business leaders who are knowledgeable, creative, dedicated and passionate team-oriented leaders and who hail from all majors across the university. In addition to offering guest speakers from a host of innovative companies, the society spearheads workshops that give student interactive experience and connects students to the many resources available to them at UConn.
UConn Consulting Group
The UConn Consulting Group was founded on the belief that given the resources and training, students can make a meaningful contribution in any type of setting and achieve their career goals. UCG gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience providing strategy consulting services to UConn organizations, local businesses, and corporations. Services include: identifying opportunities to improve profitability; strategic planning and organizational alignment; marketing research; competitive benchmarking; partnership identification and financial analysis and performance management and leadership team alignment.
UConn 3D Printing Club
The 3D Printing Club, open to all members of the UConn community, is a place for students to collaborate on creative design and engineering solutions. The Club embraces both the functional and artistic aspects of 3D printing and hosts design competitions and outreach events, and discuss advances in the technology.
Association for Computing Machinery
The ACM chapter at the UConn provides a voice for student concerns about computer-related issues and a venue for educational enrichment. While membership primarily consists of students who will go on to be computer science professionals after graduation, membership is open to anyone with an interest in computer science. UCONN-ACM organizes and promotes group activities, such as visits to computer-related businesses, conferences and museums, and fosters discussion about ethical and other issues regarding computing. The organization offers guest speakers, promotes internships and co-ops and plans campus hackathon events and more.