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A Venture Capital Fund To Encourage Entrepreneurship And Rapid Product Development With Multidisciplinary Teams

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.44.1 - 4.44.8

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Paper Authors

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Anthony J. Marchese

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Shreekanth A. Mandayam

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T. R. Chandrupatla

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John L. Schmalzel

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3325

A Venture Capital Fund to Encourage Entrepreneurship and Rapid Product Development with Multidisciplinary Teams in the Junior Engineering Clinic

Anthony J. Marchese, John L. Schmalzel, Shreekanth A. Mandayam and T.R. Chandrupatla Rowan University 201 Mullica Hill Rd. Glassboro, NJ 08028-1701


The Junior Engineering Clinic I, part of the innovative 8-semester Engineering Clinic sequence taken by all engineering students at Rowan University, provides the venue for multidisciplinary student teams to engage in semester-long design and development projects. The majority of these projects are funded by local industry, faculty research grants or departmental budgets. Clearly, projects such as these are central to developing the design, problem solving and project manage- ment skills that are lacking in the traditional engineering coursework. Often missing, however, in the industry and faculty sponsored design projects, is the spirit of invention, innovation and en- trepreneurship. The spirit of entrepreneurship is best promoted by providing students with the opportunity to propose their own original enterprises. Accordingly, an NCIIA grant has created a venture capital fund, specifically ear-marked for the development of original inventions by multi- disciplinary student teams within the Junior Engineering Clinic. To qualify for funding, student teams must propose, plan and implement an original, semester-long product development enter- prise. Funding of up to $2500 per student team per semester is competitively awarded based on student-generated proposals to the venture capital fund. To be funded, the team must be multidis- ciplinary, including engineering students from at least two of the engineering departments and at least one non-engineering major. Each team must submit a business plan and must be organized into a corporate structure. Finally, the team must propose an original product idea that can be successfully designed, developed and prototyped in a single semester. The latter criterion is possi- ble given the unique rapid prototyping facilities in place at Rowan University, which include a stereolithography machine, a multi-jet modeling rapid concept modeler and a rapid circuit prototyping system. The spirit of cooperation between the four engineering departments is evi- dent in the first funded project, which consists of a pressure relief system designed to prevent residential roof damage during high wind loading. This project was proposed by two students from the Department of Civil Engineering who have assembled a team that includes students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering.


In 1992, the local industrialist Henry M. Rowan made a $100 million donation to the then Glass- boro State College in order to establish a high-quality engineering school in southern New Jersey.

Marchese, A. J., & Mandayam, S. A., & Chandrupatla, T. R., & Schmalzel, J. L. (1999, June), A Venture Capital Fund To Encourage Entrepreneurship And Rapid Product Development With Multidisciplinary Teams Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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