8th Annual Symposium
June 10-12, 2019 in Lowell, Massachusetts

Panel Details

Track A: Culture & Ecosystems

A1Variations in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

In this session, three different land grant institutions share their approaches to building entrepreneurial ecosystems. By creating a culture that supports and celebrates free enterprise entrepreneurship and innovation, a university can have a significant impact on its students, faculty and the community. This panel will explore ecosystems in relation to various stakeholders, and describe associated challenges from the perspective of different universities in different areas of the country. The intent is to provide a foundation for understanding the culture, as well as the core entrepreneurial initiatives that maximize contributions to students, faculty, institutions and regional economies. In 2012, Michigan State University started Spartan Innovations to work with both faculty and student inventions from all aspects and majors. In 2016, MSU launched a new minor in entrepreneurship that is open to all students and involves for-credit classes, along with outside-of-the-classroom experiences. In 2005, Purdue University embarked on a comprehensive cross-campus initiative focused on multidisciplinary entrepreneurship education and technology commercialization. In 2015, West Virginia University embarked on a comprehensive cross-campus innovation, design and entrepreneurship initiative. Prior to this time, entrepreneurship efforts had grown organically in individual units within this state, land-grant university in the heart of Appalachia.


Mindy Walls, West Virginia University
Paul Jaques, Michigan State University
Lori Fischer, Michigan State University
Nathalie Duval-Couetil, Purdue University

A2The State-Wide Impact of University Entrepreneurial Efforts: The Case of Northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania

Penn State and Kent State are pursuing initiatives across their campuses in ways that extend the reach of innovation beyond larger campuses into other areas. Kent State, focused on leveraging disciplines connected to the creative industries, will discuss the impact of that university related to their Design Innovation Initiative. Penn State will discuss its Launchbox initiative, which has placed 21 entrepreneurial centers at campuses across the state, allowing the area to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to areas frequently overlooked. Panelists will discuss the overall initiatives and then involve the audience in an interactive exercise to learn more about these exciting initiatives.


J.R. Campbell, Kent State University
Kevin Snider, Penn State University
James Delattre, Penn State University
Rick Brazier, Penn State University
Michael Krajsa, Penn State University

A3From the Ground Up: The Importance of Student-Run Organizations in University Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Many universities begin the process of entrepreneurial ecosystem development through the launch of a professionally staffed division focused on fostering innovation among students, faculty and staff. These entities go a long way in creating the infrastructure needed for a flourishing innovation ecosystem, providing professional expertise, capital provisions and institutional support. However, such “top-down” organizations can only contribute so much to the development of a university entrepreneurial community. Restraints such as bureaucratic processes, university regulations and a lack of understanding of students often limit their efficacy and benefit. For this reason, the strongest university entrepreneurial ecosystems are found at the intersection of institutional initiatives, student-run organizations and engagement with the surrounding community. Particularly important are the existence of “ground-up” (student-run) organizations founded to create or bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem of their institution. These organizations often have a more nuanced understanding of student needs, more flexibility to execute on programs and an intrinsic motivation to support student entrepreneurs. From the Ground Up focuses on the unique benefits to university entrepreneurial ecosystems provided by student-run organizations. Featuring the leadership of ground-up organizations from universities at varying stages in ecosystem development, as well as an expert with knowledge of the ecosystems of 50+ universities, the panel examines the advantages and disadvantages of ground-up organizations, their interaction with institutional initiatives and how their position can be used to build the strongest university entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Brooke Stephanian, Johns Hopkins University
Pava LaPere, Johns Hopkins University
Danny Kim, Contrary Capital
Maya Durnovo, Houston Community College

A4Our Higher Calling: Rebuilding the Partnership Between America and Its Colleges and Universities

The session will engage university leaders and the audience in a discussion of the fragile partnership between higher education and the public, and some steps institutions can take—including embracing an entrepreneurial mindset to begin to repair this critical partnership. The discussion will be grounded in a book to be released in late summer with the same title as the panel.


Buck Goldstein, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


Philip Clay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Desh Deshpande, Deshpande Center
Mary Beth Walker, Georgia State University
Kevin Guskiewicz, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

A5 Industry Perspectives on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Best-Practice Suggestions for the Higher Education Community

Industry represents the primary customer base for our student graduates. The panel represents leaders of industrial innovation from large corporations, who share their perspectives about the skill sets they are looking for from new employees in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship. The panel members will discuss how innovation and entrepreneurship are managed in their companies, and will share some best practices and examples of innovation programs. We hope that sharing “voice of customer” feedback with the higher education community will identify collaboration opportunities between industry and academic institutions.


Barry Rosenbaum, University of Akron Research Foundation
Surendra Chawla, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
John Peluso, Lean Innovation Center of Excellence, The PolyOne Corporation
Boris Hadshi, Velcro Companies
John Stuckey, Bridgestone Americas

A6Bridging the Gaps: Connecting the Academic and Practitioner Worlds of Entrepreneurship

How can we bridge the gaps between innovative academic curriculum and productive real-world applications for students and entrepreneurs? How can we build effective partnerships that respond to the differing goals between academic learning and real-world success? Ensuring innovative entrepreneurial trends and experiences are the focus of our academics (despite sometimes arcane learning standards and semester schedules that don’t fit real-world demands) is a major challenge. Course offerings and programs often must be finalized several semesters in advance, further limiting our flexibility. Balancing the desire of entrepreneurs to participate against the daily demands of their own rapidly changing world is another challenge. As much as they want to help students learn, their company success must be the overriding priority. Creating access through collaborative efforts to reduce barriers to pursuing entrepreneurship for women, people of color, and other communities marginalized by current entrepreneurial norms and practices — all while avoiding the pitfalls of “heropreneurship” — is yet another challenge.

This panel offers lessons learned from building the Pioneer Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem, a collaboration of colleges, entrepreneurs and nonprofits that communicate, innovate and co-create opportunities for students and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship faculty and staff from higher education will join our partners from the Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative — a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurial activity among students in the Pioneer Valley, and Valley Venture Mentors — a nonprofit dedicated to the growth of start-ups and changing the economy in Western Massachusetts. Topics include building internship programs, collegiate accelerators, seed funds and campus interactions, plus area-wide events and student-driven projects.


Rick Feldman, Mount Holyoke College
Roxy Finn, Hampshire College
Dorota Glosowitz, Valley Venture Mentors
Bret Golann, Hampshire College
Cari Carpenter, Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative
Mary Schoonmaker, Western New England University

A7Engaging the University Ecosystem: Think Like an Entrepreneur to Be Successful

Students across campus must be given opportunities to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship. In this session, panelists from Arizona State University, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and the University of New Hampshire will share the positive outcomes of new innovative programming aimed at engaging a broader set of students who may not know they have the capability to make a difference and have an impact. In addition, panelists from North Carolina State University will discuss the benefits of having an ELLC for students and the overall entrepreneurial environment on campus. This includes the recruitment of students, program design and the resources required.


Holly Butler, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Ian Grant, University of New Hampshire
Haley Huie, North Carolina State University
Tracy Lea, Arizona State University

Track B: Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum

B1Innovative Experiences Supporting Entrepreneurship Education

This panel will examine several experiential education innovations meant to link entrepreneurship education with real-world application. Colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Massachusetts Lowell will share their experiences in implementing the Carolina Angel Network program, the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network and the River Hawk Experience Distinction in Entrepreneurship. The Carolina Angel Network (CAN) brings together UNC-Chapel Hill students, the alumni network and innovative private companies to empower the businesses that drive our future. Its mission is to support the Carolina entrepreneurial community with an angel investing platform. After a venture has been introduced to CAN members, a group of MBA and law students conduct due diligence investigations. The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network is a collaborative program designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential companies through the hands-on help of seasoned serial entrepreneurs. The program selects Blackstone Fellows (UNC students) annually that work with the entrepreneurs and companies. Throughout the year, the students provide resources and support for company development in areas such as financial modeling, market research, competitive analysis and due diligence. These programs provide UNC students with firsthand experience on due diligence reporting on behalf of the investment community as well as start-ups. The River Hawk Experience Distinction is a co-curricular credential that recognizes UMass Lowell student entrepreneurial endeavors both inside and outside the classroom. The first distinction, in entrepreneurship, links UMass Lowell’s highly successful, extracurricular DifferenceMaker® entrepreneurship program with the newly approved River Hawk Experience curricular credential. UMass Lowell anticipates that the River Hawk Experience Distinction will encourage student success and retention by recognizing and rewarding pursuit of an area of specific interest (e.g., entrepreneurship) while the student continues to pursue his or her own academic goals.


Steven Tello, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Judith Cone, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Vanessa Farzner, University of Massachusetts Lowell

B2Engineering Entrepreneurship Education: Two Schools of Thought

While there are many approaches to engineering entrepreneurship education, this panel will offer two: one from Arizona State and one from Lehigh University. Arizona State University is the only school in the country that houses an entrepreneurial undergraduate degree program in the school of engineering (The Polytechnic School). This program, Technological Entrepreneurship and Management (TEM), is also one of the largest entrepreneurial departments with about 800 degree students. Through the Lehigh-KEEN initiative, Lehigh has integrated entrepreneur mindset learning (EML) into the engineering curriculum with a corresponding entrepreneurship minor open to the entire university. The engineering entrepreneurial mindset is part of a framework that includes a robust Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem led by Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship at the front end, and development of individual student personal e-portfolios at the back. The overall output of this curricular framework are technical entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, impacting all 1,800 engineering undergraduates and roughly 800 graduate students. This panel session will start with a description of Arizona’s and Lehigh’s programs, our definition of key terms, and our proposed assessment methods. Next, we will engage the audience in discussions focused on curriculum content, format and pedagogy, all in the context of each school’s approach.


Steve T. Cho, Arizona State University
Richard Filley, Arizona State University
John B. Ochs, Lehigh University
Christopher Kauzmann, Lehigh University

B3The Journey to University Entrepreneurship: Behind the Scenes of the Ryerson and Boston U Experiences

Toronto’s Ryerson University and Boston University share many similarities. Both are urban campuses with a comparably sized student body and similar areas of academic focus. Both have also undertaken a journey in recent years to set up incubators across their campuses and integrate them into the university learning experience, but they have used very different approaches and have experienced very different results. Universities from around the world can learn from these experiences and take away a “road map to incubation” that can benefit their own efforts in this area.

This session will use an interactive, game-based format to share the experience of Ryerson and Boston universities, and to collectively capture and share best practices for universities in their journeys to set up campus incubator systems, focusing on the following five key areas: 1) engaging students and the community; 2) developing curriculum and learning models; 3) getting faculty on board (FIN); 4) navigating the IEDs of campus language; and 5) navigating the “Rubik’s Cube” of administration.


Rachel M. Spekman, Boston University
Alex Gill, Ryerson University

B4How Universities Inspire Future Entrepreneurs and Prepare Students Interested in Start-Ups

As students aspire to learn more about entrepreneurship and careers in start-ups, career centers are responding by designing programs and services that support these growing demands. Career centers are looking for ways to educate students on innovative trends in digital technology, create platforms to connect aspiring entrepreneurs, and keep students abreast of evolving hiring trends and resources. To better prepare students for the rapidly changing environment, career centers are partnering with a variety of skills-based educators, internal and external university partners, and in many cases, directly with the innovative start-ups that are driving change. Additionally, schools of all sizes and scope are establishing pan-university initiatives and community partnerships to help support interdisciplinary approaches to entrepreneurship. Join Brian Shoicket from Uncubed as he moderates a panel of practitioners from a variety of institutions, including the University of Virginia, LaGuardia Community College and Pratt Institute. The goal of the panel is to drive discussion around what these institutions are doing to support student demands and how these unique programming models are supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystems on their campuses and throughout their communities.


Seema Shah, LaGuardia Community College
David Lapinski, University of Virginia
Rhonda Schaller, Pratt Institute
Brian Shoicket, Uncubed

B5The Alternative Entrepreneur: Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Mindset in Non-Traditional Students and in Non-Tech Ventures

Many colleges and universities struggle to engage students outside of the “Zuckerbergian demographic” in their entrepreneurship courses and programs. In this panel discussion, we will share best practices for helping all students see that an entrepreneurial mindset is relevant to their careers and to finding entrepreneurial ventures that speak to their passions and their community needs. We will focus on first-generation college goers, women, rural residents, low-income students, and creative and artistic students, as well as students with diverse ethnic, racial, sexual and gender identities. We will highlight approaches for developing entrepreneurial thinking while focusing on social entrepreneurship, artisan and cultural entrepreneurship, and other “non-tech” innovations and businesses.


Marie Segares, St. Francis College
Susanne Althoff, Emerson College
Wes Jackson, Emerson College
Lu Ann Reeb, Emerson College
Jennifer A. Reis, Morehead State
Eda Sanchez-Persampieri, St. Francis College

B6Entrepreneurship and the Liberal Arts

While many universities introduce entrepreneurship through the business curriculum, connecting to students at an institution focused on the liberal arts requires an intentional approach. Even though most business students are open to entrepreneurship, non-business students do not necessarily see the inherent value of exposing themselves to entrepreneurial study. This symposium will share the strategies engaged in by three smaller institutions in Northeast Ohio to connect with liberal arts students. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation supported much of this work. Hiram College will highlight a series of E-Workshops that allowed faculty to explore how entrepreneurship fits with a liberal arts education, learn about the content and pedagogy of teaching entrepreneurship, and develop ways to incorporate opportunities in the curriculum. John Carroll University will share the collaboration between faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Boler School of Business (BSOB) that has led to entrepreneurship becoming the largest minor on campus, with 520 of the 3,000 students on campus taking entrepreneurship classes last year. Finally, The Center for Innovation & Growth (CIG) at Baldwin Wallace University will share how it reached almost all of the first-year students last year with its innovation and entrepreneurship module, which helped students understand the value of entrepreneurial studies in any major. This initiative was introduced through the university’s required first-year experience course.


Lori Long, Baldwin Wallace University
Hannah Schlueter, Baldwin Wallace University
Kay Molkentin, Hiram College
Tom Bonda, John Carroll University

B7It Is Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight, It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog: The Role of Smaller Institutions in Building the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Students, Alumni, Community and Region

“Land of the giants” entrepreneurship programs garner attention and awe, but programs at smaller universities can have a larger impact on students and communities. This panel will explore approaches to delivering meaningful instruction and experiential learning in entrepreneurship in smaller environments and communities. The session will explore the opportunity to engage students, faculty, staff and community through the expertise, support, education and connections they need to become effective entrepreneurs by creating a culture that supports and celebrates free enterprise. For students, the university must: integrate the concepts of entrepreneurship into all academic disciplines through curricular and extra-curricular activities to reach students across disciplines; engage students to help them discover their true passions and develop the mindset, skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their goals; and provide a vehicle for students to develop leadership skills through a variety of activities that challenge them to take the initiative to identify problems and create solutions. For faculty, the university can provide an outlet to keep them engaged, and grow their interests and passions. For the community, the university can help build a strong, vibrant community that will engage residents, businesses and ultimately, students and faculty. The panel will discuss the use of a wide variety of resources that are necessary to build an entrepreneurial infrastructure, and how to assemble those resources even when you are not one of the “giants.”


Lou Mazzucchelli, Bryant University
Tom Sudow, Ashland University
Elad Granot, Ashland University

Track C: Research Commercialization

C1Beyond Competitions, Incubators and Accelerators: A New “Zero Barriers” Playbook for Venture Development Initiatives on Campus

Our panel of collegiate venture development administrators have identified three persistent problems with legacy university-based start-up competitions, incubator programs and accelerator offerings: 1) the poor signal : noise ratios for entrepreneurial support offerings on campus; 2) the inability to effectively develop all aspiring founders while concurrently staying on “unicorn patrol”; and 3) the need to artificially constrain venture development program cycles fueled by fears of zombie clients. In turn, our panel of West Coast maverick administrators will share a new “zero barriers” playbook designed to upend the status quo and chart a new course for venture development initiatives within higher education.


Dr. Brent Sebold, Arizona State University
Dr. Sarabeth Berk, University of Colorado-Boulder
Dr. Scott Shrake, Colorado State University
Dr. Winny Dong, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

C2Creating Collisions of Value: Optimizing Strategic Partnerships

The concept of creating “collisions of value” is about high-potential start-up companies interacting with valuable partners along their journey. These companies could be large strategic partners, payers, OEMs, investors and more. “Collisions of value” can be planned or serendipitous.

Planned collisions include a formal email introduction or a business development director reaching out to mentor a start-up on how to get funded. It could be a start-up’s presentation to an industry group that sparks interest from a scout sitting in the audience.

Serendipitous collisions are similar interactions that happen more by chance — not by luck. This type of collision happens by putting yourself in the right place at the right time, and being fortunate enough to meet a new mentor or potential investor. Participating in an industry event where the world’s experts in a niche market gather, listening to a few of them speak, and then introducing your start-up to the speaker to get their reaction to the value propositions you are building into your business model is a great way to sharpen an entrepreneur’s tools.

During this two-part panel session and pitch round, MPR and M2D2 will provide real-world examples of how these “collisions” have resulted in mutually beneficial partnerships from executives themselves. You will hear best practices on how to navigate a partnership from both the big- and small-company perspective from some of the people who have successfully executed these agreements.

Then, in part two, start-ups will present elevator pitches specifically aimed at creating partnerships with strategic investors. 


Mary Ann Picard, M2D2, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Jeff Champagne, MPR Associates


Ibraheem Badejo, Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Ray Chen, Waters Corp.
Jim Petisce, Becton Dickinson
Luis Romo, Purple Sun
Eric Feinstein, Northwell Ventures
Ron Dorenbos, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

C3Bridging the Gap: The State of University Internal “Gap” Funds

University technologies often suffer from “the valley of death,” meaning the technology is promising but it is too early to attract either investment in a start-up or licensing by a company. The idea is not fundable by another grant, so what is a university to do? Some have addressed this by forming an investment vehicle to help bridge this valley of death. They come in various forms from translational research funding, proof of concept, start-up investment and traditional venture funding. We have a panel that can discuss all of these forms, from institutions investing large sums to small awards. Each has a way of moving ideas forward that fits the institution’s environment. The panel will address raising and sustaining gap funds, defining gap funding approaches, assessing and reporting impact, and performance metrics for gap funds. There will be a review of the various processes used for: a) promoting the fund; b) intake; c) evaluation; and d) oversight.


Todd Keiller, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Leon Sandler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Amy Whitney, Clark University
Rebecca Menapace, Brandeis University

C4The Role of University-Based Proof-of-Concept Centers in Building Robust Innovation Ecosystems

This panel will focus on some of the best practices associated with planning, designing, launching, running and sustaining a university-based proof-of-concept center. Many universities are endeavoring to implement world-recognized best practices for knowledge transfer and commercialization of university technology to external organizations. The objective of this panel is to discuss the value of creating and supporting a proof-of-concept center within the university infrastructure, while still engaging the local ecosystem. Some of the gaps that impede the translation of fundamental research to the market are: 1) funding at the right time; 2) technical capacity and guidance to bring an idea to a proof-of-concept; 3) the need to look at the market for guidance; and 4) the need for industry involvement and support. One of the ways in which university proof-of-concept centers engage with their local innovation ecosystem is in allowing for industry groups to interface directly in the proof-of-concept efforts of university researchers. The panelists will discuss experiences and trends in the U.S. and around the world to provide valuable insights to attendees.


Andrew Maas, Louisiana State University
Christina Pellicane, University of Delaware
Daniel Hampu, University of Akron
Heath Naquin, VentureWell
Shauna R Brummet, Ohio State University

C5University Research Commercialization and Start-Ups: Metrics That Matter

In the case of a lot of university accelerators/incubators, the main metrics utilized to measure “success” are output measures such as number of new companies, dollar amount of royalties generated, and things of this nature. Four representatives from universities who are looking at how best to measure the efforts of research commercialization and start-ups will discuss their efforts to think through their universities’ research commercialization and start-up goals, which helped them better define their metrics. Additional considerations are inputs, processes, and outcomes and their correlating metrics. After a brief description of each school’s metrics and why those metrics are used, we’ll open it up to the audience for input and questions.


Karl Mundorff, Oregon State University
Carrie White, West Virginia University
Tracy Lea, Arizona State University
Gene Keselman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

C6Guiding Momentum Toward Commercialization

Across the U.S., innovation ecosystems are forging paths to collaborations that push forward commercialization and form lasting partnerships that boost ROI and the energy needed to sustain economic growth. This panel will address results of ecosystem initiatives and suggestions for best practices.

Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University — the economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship arm of the university — has implemented Strategic Doing, developed by Ed Morrison at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, to support its success as an NSF I-Corps site. Aggie I-Corps uses Strategic Doing in this innovative way to help teams develop a sound path forward towards commercialization, with a focus on leveraging assets. This agile process offers a systematic approach to digest insights and create actionable strategy to maintain momentum following an I-Corps site program, in order for teams to move forward with technology commercialization.

The West Virginia University LaunchLab Network and Health Science Innovation Center’s ultimate goal is to create successful new companies to connect to local economic development agencies and trade associations, and to promote economic opportunity in greater West Virginia through the development and commercialization of WVU intellectual property. The WVU LaunchLab Network is part of the university innovation ecosystem that leverages programs designed for multidisciplinary research and commercialization for its start-ups, including IGERT (Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) at the graduate level, and the Young Innovators Fellowships at the undergraduate level. Students have had success in healthcare technology, agricultural science and consumer product development and commercialization.


Lauren Goldstein, New Mexico State University
Carrie White, West Virginia University-Morgantown
Richard Giersch, West Virginia University
Nora Myers, West Virginia University Institute of Technology

C7A Comparison of European and American University Approaches to Commercialization Strategies

Universities are increasingly supporting entrepreneurial learning and deploying technology commercialization strategies through the use of “pracademics.” These are individuals who have a practitioner background but who play a key role in providing entrepreneurship education and who develop, run and support commercialization programs inside the university. This panel will provide examples and comparisons of the use of pracademics at American and European universities, and will examine perspectives on the importance of pracademics and the contribution and value of the entrepreneurial practitioner in supporting entrepreneurial learning and the commercialization agenda. A specific program at an American university will be used to highlight the value of pracademics. The Commercialization Seminar for Academic Innovators is an educational program for Drexel University’s Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program and Drexel Innovation Fund applicants. Designed and delivered by practitioner academics at Drexel’s Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, this seminar provides participants with introductory knowledge of commercialization concepts.


Chuck Sacco, Drexel University
Pauric McGowan, University of Ulster
Tim Brundle, University of Ulster

Track D: Emerging Trends

D1Cultivating Social Innovation Ecosystems on Campus and in the Community

Whether culture eats, beats or trumps strategy could be debated. What is undebatable, however, is that if an institution wants its students to be innovative and make social impact, then the institution itself must value social innovation. Less clear, however, is how to create social innovation ecosystems and cultures in institutions of higher education.

This panel, featuring UNC-Chapel Hill and two campuses from Ashoka U’s Changemaker Campus network, explores three cases of cultivating campus-wide ecosystems and cultures for social impact. The presenters will share approaches for, and lessons from, assessing their ecosystems and cultivating leadership, networks, strategies, structures, programs and campus-wide social innovation pathways and collaborations on and off campus. At UNC-Chapel Hill, the Social Innovation Task Force was established to explore the question of how the university could most effectively organize and prepare its faculty, staff, students and programs to have the greatest positive impact on the citizens of North Carolina and people around the world. Similarly, for the past 10 years, Ashoka U has partnered with over 40 colleges and universities to advance social innovation both as an educational framework and as an approach to institutional change. The presenters bring a diversity of experiences in higher education, including teaching and program administration, strategic consulting and social entrepreneurship.


Laura Fieselman, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Melissa Carrier, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Nimesh Ghimire, Ashoka U
Suzie Addison-Toor, Georgian College
Sarah Lubik, Simon Fraser University

D2Challenges and Opportunities with Online Entrepreneurship

This session will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with entrepreneurship education in an increasingly online environment. Topics covered will include online education, as well as other elements of launching a venture in a virtual world.


Aislinn Malszecki, MaRS Discovery District
Richard Filley, Arizona State University

D3The Alternatives to Internal Accelerator Programs

Many universities have implemented accelerator programs in order to expedite the development of their most promising start-ups. These accelerators generally have an application period after which a limited number are selected to participate in a multiweek program, where they work with mentors and other experts who lecture on a variety of topics and give feedback on their pitches. However, accelerators have several drawbacks. Only a few teams benefit, they can conflict with academic schedules, and the value of “acceleration” is questionable. Carnegie Mellon University has developed an extensive infrastructure that benefits all students, faculty and staff who want to explore the potential commercialization of their research and innovations as an alternative to an accelerator. Pitt has also developed significant programming in support of their Big Idea Competition, which also overcomes many of the drawbacks of accelerators. The panelists will share their approaches and give several examples of programming that can be adopted by others to engage more students (as well as faculty and staff) in a manner that is in rhythm, and therefore compatible, with university life.


Kit Needham, Carnegie Mellon University
Babs Carryer, University of Pittsburgh

D4Using Study-Abroad Programs to Inspire Entrepreneurship and Global Citizenship

Beyond the glitz of Silicon Valley start-ups, entrepreneurship across the globe — from the one-room factories in the slums of Dharavi (Mumbai), to the solo-entrepreneur fruit vendors of Botswana, to the innovative agri-tech startups of Israel — looks very different. It is important for students to understand and appreciate entrepreneurship to be a function of the context it is set in, the challenges and opportunities within that context, and the resources that can be made available within that context. Only then, can you understand the person who undertakes the entrepreneurial journey. This session attempts to communicate the power of a well-designed study-abroad program to inspire a deep understanding of entrepreneurship and promote global citizenship by: 1) understanding the basic nature of entrepreneurship, beyond the glitz and glamour; 2) exploring various forms of entrepreneurship — from one-room recycling factories in slums, to community-based tuberculosis clinics, to high-tech start-ups; 3) understanding the entrepreneurial process, especially in a culture and context different from students’; 4) meeting various ecosystem players that play a role in entrepreneurial success (including government, financiers, incubators, accelerators, universities, etc.); 5) highlighting the power of social entrepreneurship by including exposure to successful social enterprises creating impact at scale; and 6) providing an opportunity for students to apply theory to practice (e.g. brainstorming with local entrepreneurs, creating business plans for local communities, etc.). Attendees will be able to take home a template to craft their own entrepreneurial study-abroad programs on their campus.


Deborah Finch, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Valerie Slate, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Ravi Raj, Authentica

D5 Growing Regional Entrepreneurship in the Shadowlands

Within the Western Greater Toronto area, an enviable partnership has developed that includes post-secondary institutions (University of Toronto Mississauga, Sheridan College and Humber College), the municipal government, the Regional Innovation Centre and numerous industry partners. This partnership has developed over several decades and is a key component that has led to the success of the region as an innovative player both nationally and internationally. The Economic Development Office strategically connects with international organizations to highlight the innovation and collaboration happening in this region to establish new ties, encourage business expansion and develop supply chains. The post-secondary institutions work closely together — and with each of these groups and their industry partners — to develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship both on campus and in the community. The collaborative efforts of all of these partners have not always been seamless; there have been challenges. This panel will provide a view from the perspective of the post-secondary institutions, and will discuss the history and the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.


Neda Tocheva, MaRS Discovery District
Donna Heslin, University of Toronto Mississauga
Christina Kim, University of Toronto
Renee Devereaux, Sheridan College

D6University Alumni Angel Groups and Their Impact on the University Start-Up Ecosystem

Several Alumni Angel groups have been formed and have been active in funding and providing mentorship to their alma mater’s start-up ecosystem. These groups have sourced hundreds of start-ups and funded dozens across the country. University alumni affairs offices are beginning to recognize the importance of these groups.


Vinit Nijhawan, Waterloo Alumni Angels, Boston University
Wan Li Zhu, MIT Alumni Angels, Fairhaven Capital
Nenone Donaldson, University of Waterloo Alumni and Development
Kim Lesly Hunter, MIT Alumni Relations

D7 How Can the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at Most Universities Catch Up?: Jazz, Open Innovation Networks and Shared Oneness

Most major universities tend to pursue the traditional “technology push.” Very few university research-based start-ups can be classified as “market pull,” and an even smaller percentage are related to open innovation, which is the new norm in many innovative enterprises and dynamic industries. Of these, only the most select and innovative universities dare to take on the “Holy Grail” of innovating to improve the social equity of four billion people below the international poverty income level of $1.90, who are stuck at the bottom of the pyramid. From our review of the commercialization landscape of university research, we discovered that much of it is based on incremental inventions produced in disciplinary silos. Few universities have the mechanisms in their innovation hubs for transdisciplinary “play” with peers outside their disciplines, and with other stakeholders from their local community or society at large. This diverse multi-institutional panel features a Director of Technology Management & Innovation programs sharing his 20 years of experience, a uniquely innovative and successful entrepreneur leveraging oneness, and a professor of organizational business who is examining quantum leadership based on conscious connectedness. We will present the conceptual lag between the hierarchical way most universities innovate when they seed, incubate and launch their research-based faculty or student-led start-up enterprises, and the best networking practices of leading enterprises such as Disney-Marvel Studio, Google, W.H. Gore, Zara and others. Our unique approaches at different institutions are unified by our reliance on connected oneness. We will engage the audience on how a university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem (using systems analysis) can catch up with the world of open innovation networks.


Ray Gehani, University of Akron
Ratanjit Sondhe, Oneness Foundation
Chris Laszlo, The Case Western Reserve University