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Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Virginia Venture Fund

The Virginia Venture Fund is a student administered investment fund with the sole purpose to fund and mentor UVA student started business. They usually have $50,000 to $100,000 dollars to use for funding. Students who participate in the fund learn venture fund analysis techniques first hand, work with local venture funds to do due diligence and host Shark Tank events.


Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.
ENtrepreneurial—having the perspective to see an opportunity and the talent to create value from that opportunity;
ACTion—the willingness to do something and the commitment to see it through even when the outcome is not guaranteed;
US —a group of people who see themselves connected in some important way; individuals that are part of a greater whole.
Their mission as a team is to empower individuals to construct their own wealth by enriching their minds with invaluable knowledge and skills that will stimulate and sustain a spirit of free enterprise, and inspire them to live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, ultimately leading to the economic security and the betterment of their quality of life and standard of living.

The Inventor's Society

The Inventor's Society at the University of Virginia was founded in 2013 with the goal of giving students real world hands on engineering experience while also innovating for the community. They strive to create solutions for challengeing problems within the UVA and Charlottesville communities. Projects that the considers come from its members and local organizations, businesses and individuals. The society also sponsors workshops that are meant to educate students on practical engineering topics like electronics and 3D printing. Guest speakers will also be invited to give talks about topics such as how to effectively lead a group of engineers, how to turn an idea into a real product, and how ideas invented by society can be protected. 

Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED)

Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) is a passionate group of students committed to fostering sustainable development in communities around the world. They do this by giving free consulting services to NGOs and social entrepreneurs wherever they need them, with an emphasis on sound microfinance. By forging long-term relationships, they are able to increase the efficacy and efficiency of their partners, and intensify the positive social change in their communities. They also seek educational and personal development within the University of Virginia. Through working in teams to solve problems for their partners, students are able to broaden their knowledge horizons while actively practicing the skills they learn in class. By developing a partnership with the McIntire School of Commerce, SEED has been able to utilize the full resources offered to them, while still maintaining the UVA motto of student self-governance. With over 250+ members working on projects for NGOs around the world, SEED has now established itself in the University of Virginia community, attracting members from all schools and disciplines within the University.

University of Virginia Entrepreneurship Cup

The Entrepreneurship Cup is a business-concept competition open to all U.Va. undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. This annual competition seeks to enrich the area's entrepreneurial community by encouraging new ventures with the potential to address unmet needs, solve social and economic problems, and do so in an interdisciplinary way. Participating teams and individuals develop their entrepreneurial chops by submitting formal business concepts to a selected track, with qualifying teams pitching their concepts at that track's semi-final competition. This year, the competition will be taking on a slightly different format with three seperate parts.

There will be the Concept phase of the competition where teams are encouraged to submit their concepts. This competition encourages students to come up with out-of-the-box ideas that can be translated into compelling projects. Submissions are not expected to have a full business plan,  a working prototype etc. 

The Concept competition will be organized into five tracks:
  • Health Care
  • Social Entrepeneurship
  • Consumer/Business - to - Business
  • Science/Engineering
  • UVA Wise

The top five projects in each of the five tracks will be awarded $1000 each, for a total of $25,000 in awards. 

The Discovery stage will require teams to do more customer discovery.

The Launch stage will provide seed capital to the most compelling student ventures.

BME Advanced Design      

BME Advanced Design is an undergraduate design course offered to BME majors though students of other majors may enroll by demonstrating strong interest. This class emphasizes the importance of finding unmet and specific clinical needs. More than half of the courses is devoted to sending students into clinics and shadowing physicians and nurses as well as performing extensive background research on a specific disease state. Additionally, the latter part of the course delves into rapid prototyping of possible solutions to the unmet clinical needs. Student in this course often continue to pursue their Advanced Design Project for their Capstone Projects. Some students projects have even resulted in the formation of startup companies!

Health UnBound

Health Unbound was formed in the Summer of 2014 by the UIF Leadership Circle of 2014 to provide students interested in pursuing clinical innovations at the University of Virginia. We help students access resources such as space and project management for health innovation projects and sponsor students to attend workshops and conferences to build their skill sets. We also facilitate students to explore different career opportunities in health by facilitating networking between health fields and students via events such as medical hackathons and making connections between students and companies.

ReinventED Lab

ReinventED Lab is a Charlottesville-based organization for creative problem-solving in education, supported by 4.0 Schools' Community Catalyst program. Charlottesville has been selected for the Community Catalyst program to join 5 other cities (New Orleans, New York, DC, Birmingham, and Austin) in a growing national network of education innovation organizations. 


Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The E*Society 

The E*Society an organization that connects entrepreneurial students and faculty from all colleges of The University of Virginia, as well as like-minded members of the greater Charlottesville community. The group’s goal is to aggregate resources, people, and information from every corner of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and promote a culture of collaboration and action for new ventures. This is all about high energy, interdisciplinary thinking and initiative. The E*Society hosts a variety of events with the intention of bringing people with similar interests, but different areas of expertise together. These include guest speakers and speaker panels, networking events, competitions, educational workshops, and member presentations.


A newly refurbished room in the school of engineering at the University of Virginia. The idea behind Works-in-progress is to build a community of entrepeneurial projects. The new program has so far hosted workshops with topics ranging from idea generation to marketing and beyond. Currently the program seeks to aid participants in applying to the annual Enterpenuership cup. After this competition, the program will provide active mentoring to the projects.

Academic Programs in Entrepreneurship

Undergraduate Courses 

BME 2000 - Design and Discovery

BME 4550 - Advanced Design

STS 2500 - Business Fundamental Engineers

STS 2500 - Start Up Operations for Engineers

STS 2500 - Engineers as Entrepreneurs

STS 2500 - Presentations Strategies for Entrepreneurship

STS 2500 - Entrepreneurship and Financing

STS 4500 - Business of Product Development

SYS 2048 - Integrated Systems Design

COMM 2610 - Startup

PPOL 4735 - Experiential Social Entrepreneurship

ENGR 3580 - Entrpreneurship Seminar 

ENGR 4010 - Multidiciplinary Design and Development

Graduate Courses (Darden School of Business) 

GBUS 7108 -Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Growth

GBUS 7609 - Entrepreneurial Thinking

GBUS 7613 - Sustainability, Thinking and Entrepreneurship

GBUS 7615 - Develop an Entrepreneur's Mindset

GBUS 7618 - Effectual Entrepreneurship

GBUS 8060 - Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship

GBUS 8306 - Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship

GBUS 8427 - Entrepreneur as Change Agent

GBUS 8469 - Entrepreneurs Taking Action

GBUS 8484 - Creativity and Design Thinking

GBUS 9340 - Seminar in Entrepreneurship II

University Technology Transfer Function

Licensing & Ventures Group

The Licensing & Ventures Group researches patents, new inventions and discoveries in order to help faculty (and sometimes students) to bring their products to the marketplace through licenses with industry, new venture formation, and other available pathways. Faculty recieve 35% royalty from their inventions developed with significant UVA resources. They list all UVA inventions and discoveries available for licensing throughflintbox.

University-Industry Collaboration


Rolls-Royce funds 3 endowed professorships, 4 doctoral students, 4 undergraduate international student internships, and money for the Mechatronics Lab and Rapid-Prototyping Laboratory (only available to specific mechanical engineering courses.) Overall the partnership gives UVA $15 million for these programs and reserach funding. Through this program, internships are available to UVA students, and the McIntire School of Commerce students have a 3rd year Integrated Core Experience.

Virginia Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program

Connects engineering students with paid internships in STEM companies in the state of Virginia. The program pre-screens students before sending the student applications to local companies, while the application is completely free for students.

Volkswagen Global Ingenuity 21 Program

A summer multicultural think-tank experience with Volkswagen Group  and Braunchweig University in Germany. This program lasts two weeks and includes courserwork, speakers, think-tanking, cummulating in a final presentation and proposal to the client: Volkswagen Group. The program is currently exclusive and only available to Rodman Scholars (engineering honors program).

Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

Tom Tom Founders Festival

The Tom Tom Founder’s Festival (TTFF) is an annual event in Charlottesville that makes the entire city aware of innovative works in areas ranging from technology to food.  TTFF connects people and new ideas to the future as various disciplines such as art, music, science, entrepreneurship, and design fuse together in this festival. This movement is representative of the innovation that takes place in Charlottesville and coincides with increasing activity of entrepreneurship and startups.


HackCville is a member supported, member run 501.c3 of designers, programmers, makers, creatives, and the just plain curious. No matter your skill, HackCville shares, learns, and does, in support of one another’s projects and the efforts of both UVA and Charlottesville organizations doing great work. If collisions is its mantra, then inclusivity is its ethos. HackCville members foster a culture that is unassuming, encouraging, and built on action. The group takes care in helping people at any skill level “hack” their projects, education, or careers. HackCville acts as a source to find direction and get started. Through scheduled events, classes, structured “office hours”, and workshops, HackCville aims to support both the entrepreneurs from both UVA and the surrounding Charlottesville community.

Virginia Active Angels Network (VAAN)

The Virginia Active Angles Network  is a professional angels network based out of Charlottesville, VA but includes angel investors from Blacksburg, Roanoke, Richmond, New York, and Georgia. The investors meet for a monthly dinner, engage in early stage seed funding and organize or participate in the Startup Weekend Charlottesville.  Letitia Green, who currently heads the organization, is also a professor at UVA and active organizer of other UVA and Virginia state entrepreneurship events.

UVA Innovation and Entrepreneurship Landscape Analysis

Landscape Analysis

Student Priorities

UVA Student Priorities

Related Links

University of Virginia Student Priorities

Prior UIF Members:

Anish Dalal

Dasha Tyshlek

Rachel Smith

Kelly Thomas

Angela Liu

Ben Matthews

Anthony Sung

Katie Kan

Current UIF Candidates:

Tarun Kalakoti

Justis Midura

Keaton Wadzinski

Arnab Sarker