|One of the primary outreach initiatives of UConn’s Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is the Innovation Accelerator (IA), which assists entrepreneurial ventures in addressing complex challenges associated with the identification and capture of business opportunities. The IA, supported with State funding, enhances UConn’s offerings in the entrepreneurship field and builds an academic/industry partnership to further foster the entrepreneurial culture in the state. The IA utilizes interdisciplinary project teams composed of graduate and undergraduate students that solve complex business issues for Connecticut’s technology-based entrepreneurial ventures.
All projects operate under the guidance of UConn faculty and mentors, with the involvement of the senior management of the participating venture,. The teams help propel innovation and move client ventures closer to market by engaging in consulting projects such as:
- performing comprehensive market analyses and associated market-entry strategies;
- developing strategic road-maps and sustainable business models;
- evaluating the market feasibility of emerging technologies; and
- constructing customer relationship strategies
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Types of Project Engagements
Projects are selected by the IA Steering Committee on the basis of both company and educational impact, as well as the expertise/competencies available during a particular IA session. Depending on project scope, the IA will typically engage with three or four clients in each of three 13 week sessions (spring, summer and fall terms). There are no pre-defined limitations relative to the specific technology sector within which the venture operates or the type of projects undertaken. However, IA engagements will focus on business challenges of the entrepreneurial venture and not on engineering aspects of product development.
Overview of the Innovation Accelerator Project Process
Each Innovation Accelerator project begins with the development of an initial scoping document outlining the venture’s initial opportunity/problem statement, the project goals, and the deliverables. The scoping document is written by the faculty mentors in conjunction with the venture’s management and serves as the project charter. A separate agreement outlines the responsibilities of the each party and ensures confidentiality of the venture’s intellectual property.
The project teams are composed of three to five students, guided by faculty mentors with industry/venture experience. Many team members are MBA students -- often with industry experience – while others might be Ph.D. students with specialized knowledge and skill sets in engineering, the sciences, or other complementary technologies and disciplines. Team members are expected to devote to the IA an amount of time consistent with that associated with a six-credit course (in addition to their other academic requirements).
Projects time lines coincide with each academic semester, begin with an initial client meeting, and end with delivery of the project charter deliverables to the venture’s senior management team. Weekly conference calls keep venture management apprised of the team’s progress and provide a forum for regular interchange.
For more information, please email InnovationAccelerator@business.uconn.edu
and we will get back to you for further discussions.
|An initiative of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CCEI)