Foundry-RPI: Helping To Develop Entrepreneurial Leaders
On September 19, the Foundry-RPI launched as a fully supported program kicking off its fall 2012 sessions with an information event for interested students.
Since making the leap from entrepreneurial student to business startup is no easy task, the Foundry-RPI provides an experience-based community in which student entrepreneurs can develop their business models as they also learn the practices of entrepreneurship and management.
The program is held at the Lally School of Management and Technology with the support of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. During its first two semesters as a beta program in spring and summer 2012, 17 startup companies and 24 students participated.
The Foundry-RPI is based upon the Foundry system developed at the University of Utah. In the system, a cohort of student entrepreneurs engage in a lightweight planning process, build a network of advisers, and obtain peer feedback on a weekly basis.
The Foundry system was created by Rob Wuebker, Ph.D. ’09, who graduated from the Lally School. Jason Kuruzovich, assistant professor of information systems at the Lally School, started the Foundry-RPI after seeing the Foundry system in action during a conference at the University of Utah.
“The Foundry-RPI gives student entrepreneurs a framework in which to test their business model and a place to come together for feedback and support,” said Kuruzovich. “At the same time, it’s also a group where it’s OK to archive an idea or pivot the business direction.”
In the future, as it continues to gain momentum, the Foundry-RPI has the potential to contribute to the Capital Region and local economy not only by fostering entrepreneurial leadership, learning, and new ventures, but also with new job creation, economic growth, and development of local businesses.
“Within our portfolio of programs, Foundry-RPI serves those students who are furthest along in the venture process,” noted Gina O’Connor, associate dean and professor at the Lally School and director of the Severino Center. “As students mature further, they move into the EVE business incubation program and then, hopefully, into the Rensselaer Tech Park.”
“The Foundry-RPI gives student entrepreneurs a framework in which to test their business model and a place to come together for feedback and support. At the same time, it’s also a group where it’s OK to archive an idea or pivot the business direction.”—Jason Kuruzovich
James Spencer, a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader as well as the director of real estate and business development at Rensselaer, recently attended a Foundry-RPI meeting to talk with students. In his role, he directs all activities related to the Rensselaer Technology Park and the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) business incubation program. “The great thing is that all of this work you’re doing right now is contributing to your learning,” said Spencer. “Whether through entrepreneurship or someday working as an employee at a company—it’s not a one-time deal.”
To find out more about Foundry-RPI, visit the group’s website at www.rpi.edu/dept/lally/centers/severino/foundry.html or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/FOUNDRYRPI/115757778490876.