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Binghamton University

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Overview

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Binghamton University, primarily known for being a research-based institution, is a public university located in Vestal, New York. It is home to 13,632  undergraduate and 3,660 graduate students coming from a total of 44 states and 114 different countries. The university consists of 7 different schools including - but not limited to - Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, the Decker School of Nursing, the School of Management, etc. strongly pushing entrepreneurship. After years of development and planning, the infrastructure is in place to allow startups to thrive.  Student engagement with these resources is low, relatively speaking. Pushing more students towards the university’s infrastructure is a cornerstone to not only the office of innovation’s mission but also the office of the president. Being one of the most cost effective educations in the northeast is pushing more qualified students into the school but somehow they are not filtering into the entrepreneurship track as well as they could be.


Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

There are myriad efforts to grow innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. As a result of the world-wide shift towards experiential and hands-on learning, Binghamton has also increased their efforts in this regard.

While not all courses focus on entrepreneurship specifically, there are many courses that emphasize hands-on learning, through various labs, management, and engineering courses. The growing presence in leadership courses pushes students to seek resources and understand the importance of proactivity and how collaboration is key in creation and advancement.

On campus, there are programs like Bones, Bugs, and Forensic Science; Doing Business in Emerging Markets; and Solid Mechanics. These courses, in their respective fields, seek to bring students to the field and expose them to the union of academia and the real world.

In the area of innovation and entrepreneurship, more specific and focused efforts have been made. Binghamton has recently introduced the Start-Up Suite, B-Innovative, and partnerships with the Southern Tier Incubator. These programs seek to invigorate students and provide resources and assistance for various ventures.

Despite the introduction and presence of resources on campus, many students do not take part in them; this is probably the result of poor advertising and lack of easy ways to find such resources. Our websites and campus resources do not highlight the programs and opportunities that campus and the surrounding area has to offer. 

Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The faculty at Binghamton will often engage with their students in conversation about innovation and entrepreneurship, however, they typically will not initiate the conversation. Rather, they will follow students and engage when students want to further their own ideas or learn more on the subject.

From a student perspective, the presence of innovation and entrepreneurship is low on campus. Through conversations with students and a lack of course offerings, many students do not feel proactive or thoroughly interested in starting their own ventures or start-ups. It is something that fellows hope to change.

Despite Binghamton's status as a research university, much of the research is allocated in the social and technological sciences. There is not much promotion of research in the area of innovation. Although the investment in this area is small, it is growing. You can find more about faculty research here. However, this is predicted to change in the near future, as a result of new New York state grants and the opening of various incubators in the area. You can learn more about them in subsequent sections. 

Actively Supporting the University Tech Transfer Function

As a young university, there have not been long-standing efforts or funding to provide the services of tech transfer, however, the university has made changes in recent years.

The presence of incubators, venture accelerators, and bootcamps have become more popular, as a result of recent economic efforts in our part of New York state. Within the university, there have been efforts to make this change, with hope of inspiring chage that exceeds the campus. Such efforts, such as the Entrepreneurship Learning Community, hope to educate and make students aware of technology and innovation through a residential community. 

Further, there have been other efforts that help with the legal logistics and venture capital adventures for both students and the greater Binghamton area. Because most of university funding is not allocated in this area, there are external partnerships and funding opportunities which seek to impliment and drive economic and technologically advanced change. Key funding resources include the Global NY Fund, the Agency, and New York Ventures. Students are able to access these fantastic and growing resources through the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, located downtown.

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

In the most recent years, the university has made great strides to collaborate with the surrounding areas, particularly in various industries. Their greatest effort has been in the creation of their Innovative Technology Center, an extremely advanced building, which serves as a home and incubator for technological, scientific, and entrepreneurial partnership.

The center is a smart-building, with self-sustaining technologies. Additionally, all students have access to the expansive building. The ITC provides a home to research for scientific disciplines and is the new home to the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Further, the building provides a meeting place for the Koffman Incubator, an organization which seeks partnership across New York state. This incubator seeks to increase innovation within the southern tier of New York, which has faced adversity in the past several years. 

Since large industries like IBM left the area, economic production and income has been low. This new pursuit seeks to join together various forces and connect them, allowing for greater partnership. The university has done a fantastic job in the last couple of years in providing open spaces for industry-university dialogue and cooperation.

Further, there have been captial partnerships with the university, including Start-Up NY, the Binghamton Incubator, as well as the New York Business Plan Competition. All of these organizations seek to inspire local inhabitants to make real change in our area.

Engaging With Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

Most students on campus are not heavily involved with the surrounding community, as entreprenurship resources are underutilized. Additionally, there exists a "bubble" around the university; most students are unaware of the food desert and detriments of gentrification. Most citizens of Binghamton are driven out of their housing as a result of spiking rental rates, because students can afford to pay more. Despite these negative circumstances, there are gradual changes being made.

Many students are unaware of the economic situation of the surrounding area; additionally, they do not know how to engage with the surrounding community. Despite having several resources in which the community can be engaged, they are underutilized. Our Office of Innovation and Entreprenurship and Center for Civic Engagement seek to connect the university to the surrounding area.

Our economic programs have grown substantially in the past few years; in June of 2017, the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator opened. This incubator was created with New York state funding in order to bolster the economic conditon of the state and several of the communities, many of which exist under the poverty line. The incubator seeks to collaborate with community organizations in order to promote commerce within the state. You can learn more about it here.

Related Links

Fellows (Spring 2017)

Judah Berger Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/Judah_Berger

David Axelrod Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/David_Axelrod

Mauricio Morales Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/Mauricio_Morales

Fellows (Spring 2018)

David Jacobson Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/David_Jacobson

Hannah Werner Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/Hannah_Werner

Vivian Wu Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/Vivian_Wu

Shabienska Achil Profile: http://universityinnovation.org/wiki/Shabienska_Achil