School:Lehigh University

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LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Entrepreneurship & Innovation Overview
Campus summary using the Department of Commerce-recommended five categories for characterizing the innovation ecosystem

A visual Representation of our Landscape:

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship:

"Colleges and universities are investing heavily in the development of their students’ entrepreneurial skills. While many students dream of starting the next Facebook® or Twitter® (both of which were started by students), universities are more focused on the pedagogical value of entrepreneurship as a set of skills that can be applied across professional environments and activities to supplement the students’ classroom experience. Universities are investing both in formal programs as well as in extra-curricular activities to channel students’ interest in solving global problems through entrepreneurship. Examples of formal programs include degrees and certificates in entrepreneurship, while examples of extra-curricular activities include business plan contests, entrepreneurship clubs, and startup internships. Many universities are even experimenting with on-campus accelerators, entrepreneurial dorms, and student venture funds. At the very least, these activities provide critical organizational skills to students, and at the very best, may create the next great university spinoff."


Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation

The Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation provides training and support for entrepreneurship among faculty and students and works to cultivate creativity in our academic community. The Baker Institute provides individuals with the skills, resources and connections necessary to move an idea from problem recognition to sustainable enterprise and help all members of the Lehigh University community create, innovate and drive change by making entrepreneurship resources accessible.


Integrated Product Development

IPD is a set of courses that allows students from any college at Lehigh to work with students from other disciplines on a real-world industry-sponsored project. Each project team has an advisor and, together with an industry mentor, follows a proven process. The process begins with identifying a problem and from there formulates it into a business opportunity. The process encourages innovative ideas to generate creative solutions. The program provides the resources to fabricate, build and test the best solution for technical, social, economic and personal relevance and value. Undergraduates can spend two or three semesters on this project.


Entrepreneurship Minor

Lehigh’s Minor in Entrepreneurship is designed to be accessible to students from all disciplines and emphasizes innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and creative processes, cross-functional integration, and hands-on experiential practice. The minor leverages the resources and support of the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation, as well as a broad array of related programs and infrastructure across the university. Not tied to any specific college, the minor is run by a team of faculty from across the university.

Minor Courses Offered:

·        ENTP 101: Entrepreneurship I (3 credit hours)

·        ENTP 311: The Garage: Launching Entrepreneurial Ventures I (3)

·        ENTP 312: The Garage: Launching Entrepreneurial Ventures II (3)

·        ENTP 307/IR307: International Social Entrepreneurship Practicum (4)

·        ENTP 310/POLS310: Social Entrepreneurship: How to Change the World (4)

·        IBE 380: Capstone Projects I (3)

·        IBE 385: Capstone Projects II (3)

·        MGT 311: LUMAC Management Consulting (3)

·        CSB 312: Design of Integrated Business Applications I (3)

·        CSB 313: Design of Integrated Business Applications II (3)

·        BUS 211/ENGR 211: Integrated Product Development I (3)

·        BUS 212/ENGR 212: Integrated Product Development II (2)


VENTURESeries Executive Certificate

The VENTURESeries is both a highly acclaimed executive certificate program and an MBA track focusing on the next generation of entrepreneurs. It is the single largest collection of coursework of its kind, with highly specialized, fast-moving classes that provide entrepreneurial thinking, tools, skills and experience. VENTURESeries is an integral part of MBA education at Lehigh. Named among “The Best Part-Time MBA Programs” by BusinessWeek magazine, Lehigh ranks #1 in the mid-Atlantic region and #5 nationally.


Technical Entrepreneurship Master’s Program

Lehigh’s Master’s Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship (TE) provides training in the art and practice of creating new companies while bringing revolutionary products and services to market. Lehigh’s one-year, 30-credit professional master’s program in Technical Entrepreneurship helps student entrepreneurs create, refine, and commercialize intellectual property through the licensing or launching of a new business. Students in the program learn by experiencing the idea-to-venture process in an educational environment that’s hard-wired to support the development of novel, innovative, and commercially viable technologies.


MBA Corporate Entrepreneurship

Lehigh University offers a certificate in Corporate Entrepreneurship through VENTURESeries – a one-of-a-kind executive certificate program that focuses squarely on new venture creation. Entrepreneurship comes alive through highly specialized, fast-moving, graduate-level courses. Faculty are proven entrepreneurs and seasoned practitioners in their fields. Intense classroom interaction drives the entrepreneurial spirit. Unmatched in its diversity and precision, VENTURESeries empowers today’s entrepreneur.


EUREKA! Thalheimer Student Entrepreneurs Competition

The Thalheimer Student Entrepreneurs Competition awards funding to students interested in launching innovative ventures with early stage business models. These include, but aren’t limited to, for profit startup ideas in any industry, field, or area of interest in technology, science, non-technical, retail, environment, Internet, products or services, etc.


EUREKA! Levin Advanced Technology Entrepreneurship Competition

The Levin Advanced Technology Competition seeks to fund student innovators enrolled in the college of engineering, who need additional capital to move their early stage technology venture to the next level. The winners of this competition have previously won the Thalheimer competition or have advanced their technology or commercialization efforts to a higher level.


EUREKA! Baker Student Social Ventures Competition

Every year, the Baker Institute’s EUREKA! Series of student competitions seeks proposals with the potential to make a positive impact through the pursuit of innovative thinking and sustainable business models. These competitions give undergraduates and graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to work together to turn innovative ideas into real enterprises creating economic and social value. Winners receive awards in cash and in-kind prizes that help them launch or expand their ventures.



LehighSiliconValley is a journey into new venture creation that is unique among university entrepreneurship programs. Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation takes you to the hub of entrepreneurship, California’s Silicon Valley, from which countless ventures have emerged – disruptive technology, next-generation software, and leading-edge Internet service companies. Use of “live cases” creates a highly charged learning environment that focuses on real companies, real players, and real situations in real time. LehighSiliconValley is offered exclusively by Lehigh University as a 3-credit experiential program.



Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship:

"Faculty and doctoral graduate students conduct the research powering many of the innovations that spawn high-growth startups. However, even at our nation’s most entrepreneurial universities, many faculty and graduate students do not always consider the market and societal relevance of their research. To address this issue, universities are putting in place a series of policy changes to encourage more faculty entrepreneurship, which in turn will complement the student entrepreneurship. These changes include greater recognition of faculty entrepreneurs, integrating entrepreneurship into the faculty tenure and selection process, and increasing faculty connections to outside partners - through externships, engagement with business, and targeted resources for startup creation. Finally, universities are actively working with federal agencies to address some of the regulatory challenges around faculty entrepreneurship, in particular, those related to conflict of interest and national security issues."

This is the area that I believe (as evidenced by the lack of programming) is falling behind for Lehigh University’s Entrepreneurial ecosystem efforts. In order to truly complement the student entrepreneurship experience, a set of policy changes to encourage faculty entrepreneurship could be greatly beneficial, especially regarding the entrepreneurial “culture” of the University. From my research, there is very little encouraging or incentivizing an entrepreneurial approach to faculty work - being a “Research University”, the emphasis at Lehigh seems to be more on the actual research than on its practical or societal relevance. I think that there is definitely room for improvement in terms of commercializing technology and research and in encouraging faculty to see the broader relevance and application of their research. Whether it be through the celebration of current entrepreneurship faculty, or through the creation of programming to encourage business and social relevance, I think this will be the next step for the Lehigh Entrepreneurship community. In particular, I believe that interdisciplinary faculty research and collaboration could be crucial to the development of social and business ventures. It is for this reason that one of my “swing goals” is to enhance/enforce the use of faculty research collaboration.


Actively supporting the university technology transfer function:

"University Technology Transfer Offices (TTO) and Technology Licensing Offices (TLO) have traditionally been the hubs within universities where innovators and outside business leaders engage to commercialize inventions. The recent burst of entrepreneurship on campuses has greatly expanded the role of the TTOs and TLOs. Instead of merely focusing on the commercialization of individual technologies, these offices now act as a central point where students, faculty, alumni, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry can connect with each other. These offices are now focused on identifying and supporting entrepreneurship on campus, helping startups find the best opportunities and building successful business models, changing the culture of their universities, and creating companies that will be based in the communities around the university. TTOs and TLOs have also expanded support beyond their traditional areas, such as energy and life sciences, into education, social innovation, and agriculture."


Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization

The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) assists with finding paths to widespread use of research results, especially through commercialization. OTT will help to determine when protection of intellectual property is likely to enable development of results for widespread practice through commercialization, manages Lehigh intellectual property, and assists in finding grant support for transitioning research results into commercial use. OTT also provides review and approval of all material transfer agreements and confidentiality agreements related to your work at Lehigh.


Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC)

The Manufacturers Resource Center has helped small and mid-sized manufacturers become more competitive, adopt lean and agile processes, strategically grow their companies and invest more effectively in their existing human capital. MRC partners with leading consultants and strategists to offer local manufacturers world-class assistance – bypassing the typical barriers to entry. Our goal is to connect companies in MRC’s service area with the best help that their budget permits. Assistance includes assessment and benchmarking, problem solving, specialized training, and grants and resource assistance. MRC is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST-MEP program, as well as the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunity in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and Schuylkill, Carbon and Berks counties.


Wilbur Powerhouse

The Wilbur Powerhouse Prototyping Lab is a recently renovated lab designed for the fabrication of metal structures as well as prototyping with foams and plastics. It has a large variety of tools available to all certified students including a full compliment of welders (ARC, MIG, TIG, and Plastic). Additionally, it has saws, sanders, grinders, drills and presses, a hydraulic Ironworker, milling and lathing capabilities and has compressed air available. A new vertical metal cutting bandsaw and large cabinet sandblaster are due to be installed by mid September.



Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration:

"Businesses and industry benefit greatly from university research and innovation. Universities are constantly looking for ways to connect their research and students’ education to emerging industry interests. In recent years, universities have put greater emphasis on supporting startup companies, while continuing to engage established companies that have traditionally been their licensing partners. To facilitate greater collaboration and innovation, universities are opening up their facilities, faculty, and students to businesses (small and large) in the hopes of creating greater economic value. Universities are strategically partnering with companies, offering internships and externships, sharing facilities with startups, such as accelerators, and creating venture funds and incentive programs funded by industry, all of which drive increased innovation and product development by university students, faculty, and staff."


Opportunities for Student Innovation

The Lehigh University Opportunities for Student Innovation (OSI) Program seeks to provide experiential learning opportunities for senior students to bridge the educational gap between conventional textbook learning and industrial approaches to real-world technical problem solving. In a world of rapid and continuous changes in science and technology, the effective scientist and engineer must combine sound understanding of fundamentals with critical assessments of applied technology to arrive at innovative solutions to real-world problems.

The OSI projects are sponsored by industrial organizations faced with specific technical problems. OSI student and faculty teams assist these organizations in solving their problems.


Innovation & Entrep. Leadership Residency

The Innovation and Leadership Residency (ILR) provides an opportunity for students to engage in the real-life activities of future business leaders as they prepare to present their innovations and plans to Venture Capitalists. The Open Court facility in the Victory Firehouse is the location where the action takes place. This collaboration is inspired by Mike Gausling, and includes experienced mentors, energetic entrepreneurs, and Lehigh’s Enterprise Systems Center.


Center for Optical Technologies (COT)

The COT is an interdisciplinary center whose faculty and students represent the departments of physics, electrical and computer engineering, biological sciences, chemistry, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering and mechanics, as well as the polymer science and engineering program. The COT’s mission is to advance the science and global application of optical technologies through industrial partnerships at the local, domestic and international level that drive growth and diversity in the industry while providing leadership in educating the next generation of Pennsylvania’s optics workforce.


Center for Advanced Materials & Nanotech

The Lehigh University Center for Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology’s mission is to identify, promote and engage in strategic areas of research and education in advanced materials and nanotechnology that meet the needs of industry, government and students through interdisciplinary collaboration, productive partnerships, dedicated expertise, accessible leading edge facilities and innovative education programs.


Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts:

"Historically, local economic development has been an important mission of the nation’s large universities. Many of America’s leading universities, particularly land-grant universities, have always felt a strong responsibility for the betterment of their surrounding communities. These days, universities are increasingly focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship as key contributors to the growth and success of local communities. Universities are requesting the federal government to include commercialization and innovation-driven economic development in their grant programs. In addition, regional economic development planning now often starts with an assessment of a local university’s research strengths. In turn, universities are seeking partners to supplement their strengths and overcome their weaknesses through partnerships with community colleges, non-profit economic development agencies, governments, and entrepreneurship groups. Some universities, such as Tulane University, are asking their students and faculty to contribute to local community development through service and projects. Others, such as North Carolina State University, are building innovation-driven campuses that help surrounding cities and communities prosper.”

Community Fellows

The Community Fellows Program is designed to support partnerships between Lehigh University social science Masters degree programs and regional agencies that are active in community and economic development. The program is ideal for students who are interested in rigorous academic training combined with meaningful, community-based work experience.

Community Fellows work for a participating agency for fifteen hours per week while taking classes toward a Masters degree in Environmental Policy Design, Political Science or Sociology. Fellows receive academic credit for their agency work, allowing them to earn their Masters degree in one full year of work and classes. Fellows focus on completing projects identified and designed by the agencies. One of the goals of all of the projects is to give a greater voice to ordinary citizens.


Global Village

The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry is a five week intensive program on the Lehigh University campus. Villagers will learn and live among a culturally diverse group of more than 100 peers from more than 45 countries.

Students will form business partnerships with a GV Alumni global network of 1661 leaders from 131 countries, develop your teaming and entrepreneurial skills, increase global business knowledge and cultural understanding levels, focus your career path while working with Iacocca staff to map an experience-based plan for success.


Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise

An interdisciplinary resource in Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics, the Martindale Center advances educational and scholarly programs to increase understanding of the U.S. economy and its relationship with the world economy.

The Martindale Center cooperates with other centers, institutes, departments, and organizations both on and off campus to sponsor programs that benefit students, faculty, alumni, and the community at large. The Center is a model of experience-based learning that exemplifies the university’s educational goal of training leaders for the global society and provides insight into an interconnected global economy within an intellectually rich atmosphere.


International Social Entrepreneurship

International social entrepreneurship aims to change the world through innovation in solving social problems. Focus on the nexus between social entrepreneurship and development practice, especially in relation to NGOs. Emphasis on acquiring the tools and conceptual framework to launch a new social venture through real world hands-on fieldwork and team-oriented learning by doing. Exposure to best practices in field methods with respect to development projects, to how to affect meaningful social change in poor countries, to generate and evaluate innovative ideas for poverty reduction, to develop those ideas into concrete on-the-ground start-up plans, and to take initial steps to implement them.


Ben Franklin Technology Partners

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by linking companies with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. The Center strategy encompasses three key areas: developing early-stage, technology-based companies; helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technologies and business practices; and promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies. The northeastern center is headquartered on and operates Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning incubator, on Lehigh’s campus. It is part of a four-center, state-funded economic development initiative.


Keystone Innovation Zone

The South Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) was established by Pennsylvania to create a “knowledge neighborhood” that spurs entrepreneurial opportunities. Coordinated by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, KIZ uses the resources of Lehigh University as well as government, private sector, and nonprofit partners.


Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

SBDC is a member of the Pennsylvania Network of Small Business Development Centers, has served Pennsylvania small businesses since 1978, annually consults with over 1000 small businesses in Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, and Montgomery counties and provides consulting, at no cost, to businesses in all stages of development, from pre-venture to mature. Overall guidance of the SBDC is provided by faculty directors from the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University and a private sector advisory board. The SBDC staff includes experienced business professionals who have general knowledge coupled with specialized areas of expertise. Each business person requesting assistance is matched with a counselor and the resources that are best suited to their business needs. The SBDC regularly conducts small business seminars on topics ranging from basic principles of operating a small business to financial management using personal computer and effective restaurant management.


Enterprise Systems Center (ESC)

The Enterprise Systems Center is a Lehigh University research center in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh that blends education with business development by fusing industry value creation with student experiential learning. The Center employs students, faculty, and professional engineers to work in teams capable of tackling a variety of real world industry situations. The ESC enables leadership skill set development which helps students to transition from an initial role of individual technical contributor to managerial positions directing the efforts of others in global organizational settings and engages students along with professors, senior fellows, subject matter experts, and industry partners, who utilize a layered-mentoring approach.


Life Sciences Greenhouse

Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania (LSGPA) are committed to advancing the life sciences and improving the lives of Pennsylvanians through innovations in healthcare and enhanced economic opportunity. Since 2002, they have been actively funding healthcare technology companies in their very earliest stages, from emerging entities and companies seeking to expand or relocate, to university-based researchers or technology development groups. In addition to seed and pre-seed life sciences funding, they also provide connections to angel investors, strategic partners and resources, as well as high-level life science consulting expertise that drives companies forward and enables the transition from discovery to commercialization.


Center for Optical Technologies (COT)

The COT is an interdisciplinary center whose faculty and students represent the departments of physics, electrical and computer engineering, biological sciences, chemistry, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering and mechanics, as well as the polymer science and engineering program. The COT’s mission is to advance the science and global application of optical technologies through industrial partnerships at the local, domestic and international level that drive growth and diversity in the industry while providing leadership in educating the next generation of Pennsylvania’s optics workforce.


Landscape Canvas:


Related Links

Lehigh University Student Priorities
Christopher Coffin