Inside Rensselaer
* Emerging Ventures Ecosystem Business Incubation Program Launched

President Shirley Ann Jackson (center) was joined by Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino and U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko for the launch of EVE, a distributed incubation program designed to help young businesses grow and succeed.

Emerging Ventures Ecosystem Business Incubation Program Launched

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.

Members of the campus community, along with federal, state, and local government officials and business leaders, took part in the official launch of Rensselaer’s Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) on Feb. 7, at an event in the Blitman Commons in downtown Troy. Speakers included Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino, and Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian.

The new program will help to accelerate the growth of new businesses and boost the transfer of scientific and technological breakthroughs from the laboratory and classroom to the marketplace, for social and economic impact.

In this reshaped model, EVE will link Rensselaer’s institutional resources and alumni expertise with community strengths, in a multifaceted partnership that will benefit members of the campus and local community as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

“Our goal is to facilitate and ‘turbo-charge’ every aspect of technology transfer, from idea generation
to patenting and licensing to global growth.
We intend to tap the entire range of Rensselaer resources, and to create partnerships that take
symbiotic advantage of strengths in the local community.” — Laban Coblentz

“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.”

EVE builds on more than 30 years of the Institute’s previous incubator program, the nation’s first such program wholly sponsored and operated by a university. Capital Region companies ranging from MapInfo to successful video game company Vicarious Visions grew out of the previous incubator.

Emerging Ventures Ecosystem Business Incubation Program Launched
Emerging Ventures Ecosystem Business Incubation Program Launched
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The new incubation program will utilize an innovative distributed incubation model, maintaining a central office in the Rice Building at 216 River St., Troy, and working with each company to find an ideal matchup of space to enterprise in Troy and the surrounding area. EVE will be overseen by Richard Frederick, an experienced entrepreneur and a faculty member in the Rensselaer Lally School of Management and Technology.

“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 Region—because 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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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 3, February 18, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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