The School of Business and its faculty are key organizers of a new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium on campus.
The consortium is designed to provide a coherent vision of UConn’s extensive entrepreneurial effort, as well as inspire, support, advise and encourage inventive and creative business ventures, simplify the start-up and grant-seek process, and introduce potential business partners.
“The School of Business is extraordinarily happy to be involved in the leadership of this effort for several reasons,” said Professor Timothy Folta, co-director of the consortium. “First of all, it will make an enormous impact on the university. Second, in today’s environment, entrepreneurship and innovation are critical for nearly every university stakeholder, so it makes sense to develop a coherent effort in this realm. Finally, the School of Business feels it has a great deal to contribute, because we offer programs and courses on entrepreneurship and have renowned scholars in this area.”
The consortium’s members come from across the university, representing diverse organizations that foster entrepreneurship and innovation. It is being led by the School of Business, School of Engineering, Office of the Provost, and Office of the Vice President for Research. The consortium was launched this Fall and will have its first Steering Committee meeting Jan. 28, 2015.
“The feedback we have received is phenomenal—it seems every organization wants to be part of the consortium,” said Folta, who serves as the consortium’s co-director with Hadi Bozorgmanesh, professor-in-residence in the School of Engineering.
The consortium will not be implementing programs, but will be a conduit for program leaders to share information and close the gaps on campus that inventors and business start-ups frequently encounter.
“We’ve found that people don’t know where to go to get information, and that’s something we can centralize, beginning with our web site,” Folta said. The newly created web site, entrepreneurship.uconn.edu, shares links to member organizations, stories of successful UConn-associated start-ups, grant application information, helpful business course links, and resources, both on- and off- campus, for people interested in starting businesses.
In addition to serving the immediate UConn community, Folta said he believes it will appeal to stakeholders beyond the university, including federal and state granting agencies that want more information about what innovation is occurring through the university.
Folta, who holds the School of Business’ Thomas John and Bette Wolff Chair in Strategic Entrepreneurship, said the participants will benefit from discussing ideas and sharing initiative and enthusiasm.
“We don’t want duplication of efforts,” he said. “We feel by improving connectivity, we will help coordinate new and exciting endeavors.”
What will it mean in the future?
“We hope that our member programs will develop new businesses and our educational programs will lead to a new generation of inventors of tomorrow,” Folta said. “We hope to increase the collaboration on campus, decrease duplication, promote a better statewide awareness of what we’re accomplishing at UConn and, ultimately, increase economic development.”