When you think of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first thing that comes to mind is usually not entrepreneurship. Even though this is the case, there is a flourishing support system for anyone at RPI with an invention and a willingness to bring it to the world as recognized by President Shirley Ann Jackson in her State of the Institute address on October 11, citing a commitment to “fostering technological entrepreneurship.” Additionally, according to a July 2014 Forbes article, RPI ranks 11th on the list of “America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities.”
There are four main resources to provide assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs:
The Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship supports budding and early stage entrepreneurs in the Rensselaer community through programs, coaching, and networks. Centered in Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management, the mission of the Center is to expose every Rensselaer student to the practices and principles of entrepreneurship, to help Rensselaer students start businesses, and to extend Rensselaer’s leadership and national prominence in technological entrepreneurship. For more information about the Severino Center, visit http://scte.rpi.edu/.
The Office of Technology Commercialization supports researchers and student entrepreneurs in protecting intellectual property, developing patent strategies and bringing discoveries into the commercial marketplace through licensing. The OTC is dedicated to building relationships with commercial partners to benefit Rensselaer, innovators, and the broader community. For more information about the OTC, visit http://www.rpitechnology.com/.
The Emerging Ventures Ecosystem at Rensselaer accelerates the growth of new businesses and boosts the transfer of scientific and technological breakthroughs from the laboratory and classroom to the marketplace, for social and economic impact. EVE links Rensselaer institutional resources and alumni expertise symbiotically with community strengths, in a multi-faceted partnership for mutual benefit. For more information about the EVE, visit http://rpihub.org/.
The Technology Park is a division of the Institute offering a unique environment for technology ventures focused on the interface between industry and education. There are over 70 companies in the Park representing diverse technologies ranging from electronics to physics research, from bio-technology to software. For more information about the Technology Park, visit http://rpitechpark.com/.
Let’s say that you had an idea. Where would you go? The best course of action is to start with the OTC and Severino Center. These two resources will guide you through the disclosure, imagination, and invention phases at which point you work with the Severino Center to do some customer discovery work and develop a viable business model. They will then help you through the proof of concept and feasibility stages. At this point, you begin to work more closely with EVE on strategy, entity creation and demonstration. Finally, when it comes to the launch, the Tech Park is a terrific location for growing businesses interested in staying in the Capital District. Why wouldn’t you stay? With strong connections and access to extremely intelligent students at Rensselaer, your business will have outstanding odds in the risky game of entrepreneurship.