NC State has begun a campus‐wide Entrepreneurship Initiative, with the goal of empowering students as entrepreneurial thinkers, doers, and leaders. The plan calls for the establishment of the NC State Entrepreneurship Institute, which will serve as a “front door” to the university’s existing entrepreneurship‐related programs and activities. While the Provost has provided base funding for this initiative, it ultimately will require significant extramural funding, which is our primary challenge. A secondary challenge will be establishing meaningful bridges and pathways among the various entrepreneurship‐related academic, research, and outreach activities that have grown up independently at NC State.
The eGames are held annually and are a celebration of the spirit of student entrepreneurship across all colleges and disciplines at NC State. The purpose of the eGames is to act as a catalyst for bringing together student entrepreneurs in the spirit of creative competition and to foster a university‐wide entrepreneurship ecosystem. The eGames are organized around the concept of the Olympics and are open to all full‐time and part‐time NC State graduate and undergraduate students. Students, working in teams, or individually, compete for medals and prizes in nine main events.
Since its inception, hundreds of students have completed the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, a full‐immersion educational environment for new product and business prototyping. The students are required to prototype a product and a company, not just a business plan. The curriculum is designed to improve the overall undergraduate educational experience. This is accomplished by creating multidisciplinary ‘virtual’ start‐up companies known as eTeams (entrepreneurship teams) that are comprised of undergraduate students from all grade levels in engineering, science, business, industrial design, and the arts and humanities. The eTeams are led by senior engineering students who act as the founders and executives.
This is a required junior-level course for students in Fashion and Textile Management, Textile Design, and Fashion Design offered by the College of Textiles. Teams of students exercise entrepreneurial skills to develop innovative textile products, and write a business plan to take the product to market. Multi‐disciplinary and an experiential learning environment is cultivated through in‐class activities and online collaboration.
Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) teaches graduate students from business and technical disciplines the innovation and entrepreneurial processes necessary to transform new technology platforms into successful businesses. The students follow a proprietary teaching methodology called the “TEC algorithm,” which teaches students how to assess the business opportunity that can be created from a technology’s unique advantages. TEC provides graduate students the opportunity to become founders in the high‐tech start‐up company in which they have worked. Therefore, the goal for the class sequence is for each student team to introduce one new technology into the marketplace either through licensing, a spin‐off/spin‐in strategy or a startup. A number of companies have been spun off from technologies scrutinized by teams of students in the TEC program.
This new certificate program is designed to be a centerpiece in NC State University’s efforts to integrate entrepreneurship into graduate curricula. The certificate program is open to all graduate students at NC State, as well as others in the area who have a bachelor’s degree and a strong interest in the commercialization of new technologies. The curriculum comprises three, four‐credit‐hour courses that are part of the entrepreneurship and technology commercialization concentration in the NC State Jenkins MBA program. Mentors from the entrepreneurship and engineering communities work with the students as they apply their coursework to assess new technologies.
The Office of Research Commercialization (ORC) moves academic discovery to the marketplace, resulting in new products, processes, and companies. These efforts help maximize the impact of academic research by forging new partnerships that are responsive to society. With over 150 products commercialized by our industry partners and more than 70 companies established based on university‐owned inventions, NC State’s ORC is recognized as a leader in innovation stewardship. As a result of ORC’s efforts, NC State is currently ranked third nationally in Industry Licensing Partnerships per $100M in research expenditures (Association of University Technology Managers, 2008) and third nationally in Commercialization of Micro/Nanotechnology Inventions (Small Times Survey, 2008) Our economic development efforts have resulted in over 3,100 jobs in North Carolina.
Inventor Resources, which can be found on the Office of Research Commercialization’s website, facilitate the disclosure of new opportunities and provides faculty, staff and students with the tools necessary to disseminate information/materials to external partners in order to establish research and/or commercialization relationships. Template agreements are provided for quick reference as well as an Inventor’s Guide to Technology Transfer, university policies, and appropriate contacts within the ORC. For more information please visit http://research.ncsu.edu/commercialization/.
Springboard Innovation Forum
The Springboard Innovation Forum was launched in 2012 to support full spectrum innovation and entrepreneurship at NC State. The forums not only provide information to faculty, staff and students related to strategic research topics, but also serve as a resource for understanding the process of new company formation and financing. NC State’s service partners often participate in the seminars, providing insight into market conditions, funding opportunities, and the process of invention translation.
The Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) was launched in the Fall of 2016 and serves as a mechanism to connect NC State alumni investors with promising NC State-affiliated startup companies to facilitate angel investments. WIN provides a new avenue for engaging the enthusiasm, resources and expertise of NC State alumni investors. The network also provides the opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial talents of our students, faculty, and alumni and is a way for the university community to invest back in its best and brightest.
The Endowment provides small grants (maximum $25,000) to emerging companies and cutting‐edge research projects at NC State to facilitate economic development impact in North Carolina.
The Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) provides businesses with one‐on‐one counseling to assist in the commercialization of innovative technologies. The SBTDC technology team also provides assistance to technology transfer offices at universities and other institutions to support the development of spin‐off companies. Specialists provide counseling to faculty and students in the areas of technology transfer; research and development funding (SBIR/STTR), intellectual property issues, networking/resource identification, and financing alternatives.
The Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS) represents a one‐of‐a‐kind convergence of academia and industry. Its purpose is to study technological innovation and its management, disseminate that knowledge, and help companies apply it to achieve bottom‐line results. CIMS is dedicated to fostering a collaborative environment among scholars, researchers, and business executives. Its goal is to better understand the technological innovation process and how it can be managed more effectively. After 25 years, CIMS has sponsored thousands of hours of research, held scores of workshops and conferences, published hundreds of papers, and improved the balance sheets of dozens of companies.