Resources and Internships
The transition from idea to commercial venture requires resources and the ability to acquire them, from funding to patents to marketing and everything in between. Turn your idea into a business with the help of grant programs and competitions including Accelerate UConn and Innovation Quest. Gain experience in the fast-paced innovation world through exclusive internship programs.
Many of these programs include funding. Funding is available on a competitive basis to UConn-affiliated and Connecticut-based companies through many state-funded and private sources. Grants and funding are also available for intellectual property and emerging technology to those in the early stages of forming a business.
All funding is in the form of grants unless otherwise indicated in the Program description.
UConn Startup Resources
Accelerate UConn is UConn’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site, and its mission is to catalyze the transition of new scientific discoveries and capabilities from the lab to the marketplace. Participating teams will receive an introduction to the most critical elements of the I-Corps Curriculum and Lean Launchpad methodology. Over the course of seven weeks, teams will learn how to determine the market opportunity for their product or technology.
CCEI Summer Fellowship
The top 10 startups from across the University are selected to participate in the CCEI Summer Fellowship experience. Three days a week for eight weeks, participants develop the skills needed to bring new products, services, and technologies to market. Each team receives one-on-one coaching and mentorship from industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs. Teams are provided with probono legal and accounting services to help with initial business setup and support.
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (SCOPE)
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.
Get Seeded provides students with the opportunity to pitch their ideas to an audience of their peers. Teams that are selected to pitch have an opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in seed funding for their idea, mentorship, and support from other students who may be interested in joining their team. Students that do not yet have ideas or who are not ready to pitch are invited to attend. The audience votes on which teams are funded. Get Seeded pitch nights are open to all students and are a great way to network and connect with other students.
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,’’ says management professor Rich Dino, 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.
IP and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic
The UConn School of Law Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law 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 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.
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.
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 its companies for their fundraising 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 bird's eye view of intellectual property, research capacity, and expertise that can enable the success of TIP companies.
Traction is a program that supports UConn-affiliated startup ideas as entrepreneurs work to validate their concepts. Participants will learn the key elements of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) and the lean startup methodology. Participants will engage in customer discovery efforts that will allow them to better understand the market they are entering and value they plan to provide to key stakeholders in the process.
VentureWell is a national non-profit organization that supports and funds innovation and entrepreneurship on campuses across the U.S. for student and faculty development. Since UConn is a member, all students and faculty are eligible to take advantage of VentureWell's resources.
Verge Consulting Program
The Verge Consulting Program provides pro bono consulting services to startups. Verge Consultants are graduate students that work with the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) and the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) to support startups and small businesses as they are overcoming the various hurdles of starting and growing their companies. Verge Consultants work together as a team to assist startup companies and small businesses every summer in a variety of different industries and life cycles that are facing diverse challenges. Through a partnership with the CTSBDC, Verge Consultants work directly with SBDC's business advisors to learn first-hand about consulting and supporting businesses.
Wolff New Venture Competition
The Wolff New Venture Competition features live pitches by the five of the top startups coming out of UConn each year. These teams are selected from the CCEI Summer Fellowship program, chosen on a basis of venture viability and value added to the market. A panel of venture experts decide which team deserves the Wolff Prize and the $20,000 accompanying it.
Partnership in Innovation and Education Internship Program (PIE)
The statewide consortium known as the Partnership for Innovation and Education (PIE) draws some of the smartest students in Connecticut to help build the state’s future health and technology workforce and encourage bioscience commercialization. Students from UConn join their peers from Trinity College, University of St. Joseph, Central Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Hartford and Tunxis Community College to work on summer research projects. Each student is paired with a research mentor from one of the host institutions, including UConn Health faculty and biotech startup firms in UConn’s Technology Incubation Program (TIP). They also participate in weekly workshops and seminars and receive additional training in innovation and technology entrepreneurship.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates Summer Internship Program
Over a three year period, this National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program will engage undergraduate students in a 10-week intensive, summer research experience focused on projects identified as having a high potential for translation to commercial projects and that encourage cross-disciplinary discussions and stimulate creativity. The research program will be complemented by a formal engineering entrepreneurship program that will focus on the creative process, idea generation, prototyping, and the realities of starting a business. Students will develop communication skills through required presentations to the REU cohort, their faculty mentors, and entrepreneurs. This REU program translates the model used by a successful graduate course in entrepreneurship at the University of Connecticut to a context appropriate for undergraduates.
TIP Innovation Fellows Internship Program
The TIP Innovation Fellows Program is an academic program where fellows attend weekly seminars on innovation and business given by the Technology Incubation Program's (TIP) in-residence entrepreneurs, and TIP company mentors are invited to share their own entrepreneurship successes and failures. The program offers professional career development workshops and networking socials. A symposium at the end of the summer features invited speakers and research posters and demonstrations given by the Fellows. After the summer program ends, some Fellows join their host companies as part- or full-time hires; others stay on as student researchers to earn academic credit.