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Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship 

Student innovation and entrepreneurship is encouraged in select fields, namely business and to a certain extent, in engineering. There is a huge variety of course offerings that focus on a strong entrepreneurial emphasis. In all of these courses, students create new product or business ideas, which they further develop over the course of the semester by talking to potential consumers. While this is promising for business students, engineering students are primarily interested in innovation and recognize it as a skill required of them. All students have a basic awareness that there are a multitude of resources on campus for them, if they are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, although, there is always room for improvement. Faculty members and stakeholders are very supportive of implementing an innovation and entrepreneursip initiative on campus. The Delaware Innovation Fellows, administered by the University of Delaware Horn Program, offers a four year enrichment experience for those who want to be more immersed in entrepreneurship and leadership.


Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

The Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) plays a significant role in assisting faculty members with innovation. Faculty members are allowed to take a day every week to work on their own ideas, which could potentially lead to product innovation, a startup or a licensing opportunity. OEIP also provides assistance with training related to SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grant application process. OEIP is working on making their online interface easier for faculty members to navigate.

Faculty members are excited and passionate about innovation, but do need assistance when it comes to exploring the commercial viability of an idea or a product. Besides OEIP, the University of Delaware Morris Library offers access to latest data related to industry research, marketing research and small business and entrepreneurship. This resource is useful to evaluate the viability of an idea.

Faculty members are also encouraged to present their ideas and prototypes during the “Entrepreneurship and Risk: Meeting the Challenges” course (listed as MSEG 425). The course is attended by a group of engineering and business majors who develop a business plan for the faculty members to pursue it further.


Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

The Technology Transfer Center (TTC) within the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) is responsible for the protection, management and commercialization of the University of Delaware's intellectual property assets. The TTC also provides advice to UD faculty, staff and graduate students regarding the disclosure of innovations, IP protection in the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, as well as contracts and other research-related agreements.

As inventors become entrepreneurs, the TTC, in cooperation with the Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC), assists with the growth of new businesses by providing consulting and training in areas such as business strategy and planning, funding strategy, team development, and management skill development.


Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

The Delaware Technology Park offers a space for new startups and established companies. STAR campus is home to the universities rehabilitation centers and health science laboratories. With the completion of a new building adjacent to STAR, startups and small companies will be able to lease office space on campus, and also provide opportunities for students.  Leading Edge Venture, First State Innovation, Vital venture Capital, and Yet2ventures are financial venture firms that students can contact for investments. A good mentor network can also be found by either talking to a Horn Advisory Board member or a Lerner Executive Mentor. The university also offers several courses that promote growing a business, including ENTR352 (Business Launchpad: Turning Ideas into Successful Companies), and several capstone courses that promote the development of teamwork and innovative thinking through designing an industry level product by the end of the semester, including BMEG450 (Biomedical Engineering Design).

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts


The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a potential resource for new businesses. Along with advising, they can help with procuring space to set up their business, in the Delaware technology park. Also, the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) help university employees with patent filing and commercializing potentially viable ideas. Undergraduate students go through the Venture Development Center (VDC) for assistance with the above.

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