Since 2020, the University has added some events and regular inspiration events like a new podcast called "Entrepreneurial wave" and the Open Sessions for entrepreneurs .Furthermore, a new project called “Intervalos” was launched last year, and it consists of students interviewing local business leaders like CEOs,and sharing it on live via Zoom meetings.
Last year, UCU launched the "UCU week", a week long event. During this, clasess are suspended in order for the students to have access to all kinds of projects, workshops, open lectures and games. Apart from this, there are a lot of I&E activities. The goal is to make give this topic an interesting and innovative approach. Also, students may suggest in advance some topics of their best interest, so that they can learn more about them in this week.
Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship:
When a student has an idea and wants to pursue it, it is extremely important to have the university's support and guidance.
This is the reason why IthaKa, our I&E center was created. IthaKa`s principal aim is to incubate students´ ideas and materialize them. The main mission of this center is to bring our university community closer to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, promote innovation and creativity for the development of ventures that contribute to the development of a more prosperous, fair and humane society.
In fact, Ithaka already created many entrepreneurs and innovators. For instance, Sebastian Fernandez, an Engineering student of UCU, together with íthaka's help and support founded a successful enterprise called TuPase. TuPase is an App that allows companies to involve their employees in physical activity by providing access to the largest network of sports centers in Uruguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Panama. /big>
Students ́ organizations are also highly promoted by Ithaka, proof of this is the Entrepreneur ́s Club at Punta del Este ́s Campus. Here, students from UCU and other universities who would like to become entrepreneurs and already entrepreneurs of the city gather and take part in talks to inspire, teach entrepreneurial skills and promote innovation.
IthaKa not only offers a wide variety of workshops for circular economy entrepreneurs but also competitions for students to develop the innovation part during their studies such as “Suma innovación a tu carrera” or “Tecnolog”. For those who need some mentoring, IthaKa also helps find someone through its mentoring innovation program.
Facilitating university-industry collaboration
UCU facilitates the relationship between industry and the university in multiple ways, some of which are described below.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
There are two main programmes that regulate and connect the entrepreneurship and innovation that takes place in university with real-life organizations, business and markets. The first one is the mentoring program offered by Ithaka. This one supports students, professors, and alumni in developing their ideas in the pursuit of transforming them into entrepreneurs. This program launches a call to help eight companies, where in three months they assign them a mentor who has experience in the area each project needs, the programm counts with 25 academic staff as mentors. In fact, the seed funds competitions have a designated budget for Ithaka’s members. Also, Ithaka offers legal mentoring by a lawyer and professor of the university.
The second one is the “Ignis Convoca” program, which also gives students support but, at the same time, pushes them to participate in contests regional and international.
The university, a few years ago, organized activities to facilitate validation with incubators. An example of this was IdeasLab, a pre-incubation program, where mentoring, tutoring and training were given by mentors who help validate the participant ́s business plan.
Moreover, as UCU believes that social responsibility and engagement is important, it promoted with Ithaka a program called “Circular Opportunities” that provided tutorships and training to entrepreneurs trying to address social and environmental problems. These programs are no longer available in the university, but those mentioned above have increased their impact on the entrepreneurial area of the university.
Job opportunities facilitators
“Feria Laboral” is an annual event. It is mainly a fair whose aim is inserting students into the labour market. This activity consists of a large number of companies from different fields gathered for this day in the university to describe, inform and offer different career opportunities that students can apply for.
There are several internships available as well, for students that want to start working at the university, such opportunities include being part of the centers, the administration or the technical support. In addition, in the last year, a job portal has been developed, where students can upload their curriculum and discover job proposals that suit their skills.
Universidad Catolica del Uruguay offers infrastructure and resources for making their own professional practices before graduation.
UCU is currently going through a changing process, the whole university is turning into a more insightful and transversal education center aiming for an interdisciplinary and intercareer process of education and formation. Ucu is trying to make professionals adapt to today’s needs by teaching them that knowing a lot of only one thing is not the best way to approach the work market. Today’s needs require a deep but not professional knowledge about a vast amount of topics. UCU is making us try to be profesionales at projects and working in teams of different professions rather than solo workers.
As a way to promote an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in students, UCU has a wide variety of offers regarding work practices. In most majors, internships are offered in external companies for students who are about to finish their studies. In some departments, students are invited to carry out projects in collaboration with companies and with academic staff, as are the base of audiovisual technicians, the UCU business in company and the original content production line programs.
The engineering department has the engineering promotion fund by the ANII to promote engineering projects and many of the final year students chose to do the entrepreneurship variant of the final project.The Computer Science career has incorporated a new kind of course, known as "Challenges". This is an opportunity for the students to show their streng
s and innovative ideas as they work together on a three-week long pro
ct, in order to find a solution for a real problem that is present in our society.
And last but not least, there is a program offered by the graduate school named Capstone, where professional practices are supported, given that are mandatory for every graduate student.
Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts
Uruguayan government is helping the startup industry flourish by implementing these institutions : National Agency of Research and Innovation (ANII) and National Development Agency (ANDE). Enhancing this, the Co work spaces and the special Centers dedicated to supporting students, postgraduates and graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit are an important base in the progress of the realization of ideas.
Regarding to ANII, this institution makes available to the public funds for research projects, national and international postgraduate scholarships and incentive programs for innovative culture and entrepreneurship, both in the private and public sectors.
In relation to ANDE, their aim is to contribute to productive economic development, in a sustainable way, with social equity and environmental and territorial balance.
Ithaka is the Sponsoring Institution of Entrepreneurship (IPE) in front of the National Research and Innovation Agency (ANII) and the National Development Agency (ANDE).
Thanks to the support of ANII and ANDE, Ithaka´s pre-incubated entrepreneurs will have access to capital to carry out the validation of their idea.
In turn, the Ithaka center has launched two competitions, Tecnolog and Kenn S George to promote and help the different entrepreneurs that apply. These are two workshops where the teams that submit their projects will be trained and the winner will obtain seed capital for their entrepreneurship.
Since last year, IthaKa has joined forces with the Municipio CH, ANDE and the Ministry of Interior, by supporting the project "Andrés Abt Entrepeneurs´ sentry boxes" (Garitas para emprendedores Andrés Abt). The main goal
this project is to generate new job oportunities by allowing entrepeneurs to install their businesses in the old police sentry boxes that are now in disuse.
The chosen entrepeneurs are expected to adapt the sentry boxes, creating a space to show and sell their products and services, while they also contribute by improving the appearance of the place, adding a service to the c
UCU ́s Strategic Plan for the Future
In a diverse and alarming world, we have the challenge of committing ourselves to the creation of sustained value in the relationships and decisions we make daily.
In UCU ́s Strategic Plan, the aim is to be more innovative, creative, inclusive and open to the world.
When students learn, the sky isn't the limit, therefore UCU is constantly reinventing so that the academic experience is enhanced. UCU is achieving that by providing day to day new courses, careers, or even a new institution (as it is UCU Business School).
Every day that passes, UCU tries to be a better university, where all the stakeholders contribute to overall sustainable development.
Universidad Católica del Uruguay Student Priorities
Fall 2017 Fellows
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Maria Josefina Martinez
Fall 2019 Fellows
Juan Manuel Ave
2019 UCU´s Canvas
Fall 2021 Fellows