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SUNY-Binghamton initiatives promote campus entrepreneurship

By David Schwartz
Published: November 11th, 2009

Binghamton University, State University of New York, is targeting entrepreneurship with a pair of initiatives. Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum, modeled after the university’s successful Languages Across the Curriculum program, offers small stipends to faculty members who agree to provide an entrepreneurship component on a continuing basis in their classes. Faculty members will submit proposals to a committee comprised of their peers and of representatives from outside groups such as Catalysts for Intellectual Capital 2020 (CIC2020). The committee will decide which projects to fund. “Our role as sponsors is to get the ball rolling and leave decision-making to the committee,” says Eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president for technology transfer and innovation partnerships. “Every discipline has the opportunity to have a component of entrepreneurship added to a syllabus. If you are a sculptor, you may eventually open your own gallery. If you are pre-med, you may run your own clinic at some point.” Faculty members will be required to devote a set minimum of class hours to the entrepreneurship component, Krentsel says, adding that faculty members need only provide a “teaser” to their syllabi to pique the interest of students. The committee hopes to receive initial proposals for Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum in December and to make funding decisions by January 2010, says Ken McLeod, a committee member and bioengineering professor. “You have to start small and let this grow,” he points out. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”

The second entrepreneurship initiative is aimed at faculty members who are considering starting their own businesses. Zhihao Yang, chief technology officer and co-founder of NanoMas Technologies, will serve as special adviser for entrepreneurship. Launched in the Start-Up Suite of the university’s Innovative Technologies Complex, NanoMas represents one of Binghamton’s most successful ventures. Yang will draw on that success to offer hands-on help, encouragement, and information to faculty members seeking to proceed with a business plan.Yang, who has agreed to serve as the adviser for six months, will have his own office on the second floor of the Innovative Technologies Complex. “It’s great for us to have someone who can not only teach it, but say, ‘Hey, I’ve been there. I started one. Here’s what it took,'” Krentsel says.

Source: Binghamton University

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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  • William Greener

    It’s really great to see a university getting creative in a space with such potential, but one that needs so much help. We’ve got to bring business management capabilities to the tech transfer arena to help new technologies make it to seed stage funding. Bravo to U. Binghamton.

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