Building on decades of successful efforts to nurture new businesses and bring ideas from classrooms and labs to the marketplace, Rensselaer has launched a distributed incubation program to help young businesses grow and succeed.
“Our goal is to facilitate and ‘turbo-charge’ every aspect of technology transfer, from idea generation
“Rensselaer is a world-class research university where entrepreneurship is a core value. Not only do we conduct groundbreaking research, but we also find ways to foster the movement of ideas, inventions, and research results from the nurturing environment of the classroom and laboratory into the real world, where businesses can transform them into products and services that stimulate the economy, generate jobs, create social impact, and build new industries,” said President Jackson. “This new model, which places business incubation within a supportive innovation ecosystem, takes on the unique challenges of the 21st century marketplace, and we are confident will play a critical role in the long-term national effort to build a revitalized, robust economy.”
“In order to remain competitive in a global economy, I strongly believe that America must continue to invest in science, research, and technology the building blocks of an innovation economy,” said U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko. “I congratulate Dr. Jackson and RPI as they announce the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem and I applaud these efforts that will launch new technology companies and create jobs in the Capital Region and beyond.”
Under EVE, businesses that are accepted into the program will receive a series of specific services that will help accelerate their growth. Once a new company completes the application process through which Rensselaer will determine, in part, whether the entrepreneur is willing to put in the effort to make the company successful the program will assign a status to the company: pre-seed, emerging, or early stage.
EVE’s mentors including seasoned professionals drawn from the Institute, from the local business community, and from Rensselaer’s considerable pool of highly successful graduates will help these new start-ups sharpen their business plans, establish clear goals and milestones, access technical and legal support services as needed, identify receptive markets, and discover additional funding opportunities. This will be accomplished through business plan competitions, grants, loans, and venture funds. The EVE director will work closely with the Rensselaer Alumni Association to assist in the selection and assignment of mentors.
While EVE is designed to elevate the standard of business incubation at Rensselaer, the focus of the “ecosystem” goes well beyond incubation, said Laban Coblentz, chief of staff and associate vice president for policy and planning.
“Our goal is to facilitate and ‘turbo-charge,’ if you like, every aspect of technology transfer, from idea generation to patenting and licensing to global growth,” Coblentz said. “To do that, we intend to tap the entire range of Rensselaer resources, and to create partnerships that take symbiotic advantage of strengths in the local community, for mutual benefit.”
At the Institute, Coblentz cited a range of resources: the multitude of leading-edge research centers; Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Rob Chernow; selected classes and courses of study designed around innovation and entrepreneurship; the Office of Technology Commercialization; the Rensselaer Technology Park; and the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. The Severino Center’s mission, for example, is to expose Rensselaer students to the practices and principles of entrepreneurship, and to extend Rensselaer’s leadership and national prominence in technological entrepreneurship.
“After more than a year of effort,” Coblentz said, “what we are seeing is an unprecedented degree of coherence and cooperation among all of these Rensselaer entities. EVE will extend this same ‘ecosystem’ philosophy and approach into our partnerships in Troy and the Capital Regionbecause economic growth is not a zero-sum game.”
To read the full press release, go to http://news.rpi.edu/ update.do?artcenterkey=2820. To read more about the initial participants in EVE, as well as descriptions of services to be provided by the new incubation program, go to www.rpi.edu/about/eve.
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