June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
13.698.1 - 13.698.8
IMPaCT: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Creating High-Tech Startups
Abstract There is a recognized need for creating new innovative high-tech ventures in order for the United States to remain competitive in a global market. This paper will explain how a series of NSF grants, industry partnerships, and collaborative courses have established a multidisciplinary pipeline for identifying and creating high-tech startups capable of competing in the new economy. Engineering faculty and students work closely with their business school counterparts to not only design and test new products, but to also create new innovative ventures.
Projects in the IMPaCT (Innovation through Multidisciplinary Projects and Collaborative Teams) program typically begin by funneling promising faculty research through an Innovative Venture Research (IVR) class. The Innovative Venture Research class is populated with engineering and business students (along with any other student on campus with an entrepreneurial spirit) who spend ten weeks identifying potential applications and markets for the raw research. The next phase of the project is to create multidisciplinary Venture Enhancement Teams (VETs). The VETs use parallel business and engineering courses to simultaneously create a marketable prototype and a sound business plan. The next phase of the program is to demonstrate the new product and business plan to industry professionals, venture capitalist, and other interested parties via a business plan competition and senior design conference.
Products that are not ready for a commercial market, but have shown potential for commercialization can be assigned to another Venture Enhancement Team the following year. Finally, products that are ready for commercialization are awarded space in our business incubator. This collaborative process has already proven effective with the licensing of one project from the 2006-07 academic year. Additionally, industrial and governmental funding of five projects from the 2007-08 year indicates a promising future for the program. This paper will demonstrate an effective method for collaboration between faculty, students, and industry in the creation of high-tech startups.
Introduction and Background Louisiana Tech University is located in a largely rural area with little high-tech industry. In order for this region in particular and the country in general to be competitive in the coming years, new and innovative industries must be developed. The IMPaCT program helps to create new high- tech entrepreneurial efforts in the region by providing an environment for the development of new products based around faculty research and student ideas. One of the major goals of the IMPaCT program is to create an entrepreneurial environment for students and faculty that promotes the development of high-tech startup companies in the region.
The IMPaCT program essentially began during the Fall 2004 and subsequently received two years of NSF funding (NSF-0536482). IMPaCT began as an adaptation of Purdue’s EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) program. EPICS was initiated in the fall of 1995 with NSF funding and has been hugely successful.1 The IMPaCT program provides opportunities for students from all over campus to work together to solve problems. Students can elect to enroll in IMPaCT from several different perspectives. A student can participate in IMPaCT through an engineering capstone design course, or through one of several other courses
Crittenden, K., & Pratt, J., & Nelson, J. (2008, June), Impact: A Multidisciplinary Approach For Creating High Tech Startups Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4011
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