9th Annual Symposium
June 10-12, 2020 in Cleveland, OH

Panel Details

Morning Plenary Session

The Six Degrees of Deshpande: The Network Grows & Connections Multiply

This multimedia plenary will capitalize on the power of maps to deliver meaningful context for the dynamic network of colleagues we have created together over the last eight years. The Deshpande Symposium has had a remarkable impact on how entrepreneurship is supported and celebrated on college and university campuses globally. Founder Desh Deshpande will kick off the session with a reflection on his initial vision at the time the Symposium launched in 2012 as a global forum for peer-to-peer learning among engaged colleagues. A digital mapping exercise will reveal the regions in North America and beyond where the Deshpande Symposium has connected and attracted participants. Throughout the session, mapping will complement the storytelling of panelists highlighting the connectivity and knowledge sharing the Symposium generates among attendees and the institutions they represent. Story maps will showcase the growth and reach of our entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as the influence of the Deshpande Symposium. Using “real-time” story mapping, we will engage the audience in electronic responses to better understand the impact of the Symposium on building a worldwide ecosystem of connected professionals. This plenary will be participatory, so please come prepared to chime in and share your stories of rewarding connections spawned by the Symposium! The theme of connectivity will be emphasized throughout the conference, encouraging networking, collaborations, ongoing knowledge sharing, regional connections and reciprocal campus visits. Join us to learn more about the affinities that characterize our growing Symposium network.


Deborah Hoover, President & CEO, Burton D. Morgan Foundation


Desh Deshpande, Founder, Deshpande Foundation


Julie Messing, Executive Director, Entrepreneurship Initiatives, LaunchNET, Kent State University


Vikki Broer, Burton D. Morgan Foundation
Emily Finbow, Texas A&M University
Heather MacNeill, University of New Hampshire
Sonia Jimenez, Texas A&M University
Deedee Chatham, University of Rhode Island
Ji Mi Choi, Arizona State University

Track A: Culture & Ecosystems

A1Leveraging Cross-Campus and Inter-Institutional Partnerships to Strengthen Entrepreneurial Learning in Higher Education

This session will present two applications of strategic partnerships in higher education by highlighting the DifferenceMaker program’s partnership between UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College, and the Carolina Challenge Makeathon program’s cross-campus and inter-institutional expansion plan at UNC-Chapel Hill. Both programs utilize a cross-campus innovation competition with prize money to teach entrepreneurial skills for students to accelerate their ideas into viable solutions, but each has its own unique strengths that other institutions could learn from and model after. The DifferenceMaker program uniquely leverages the partnerships between institutions to help community college graduates assimilate into the university setting more seamlessly upon transfer by providing them with the same programming as their peers. The Makeathon program uniquely leverages the strengths and resources of nine cross-campus departments, and three neighboring universities, to deliver a comprehensive weeklong creative experience that aims to accelerate ideas into digital or physical products that solve for social impact-driven solutions. This session will use the two programs' deep dives to fuel a conversation on forging strategic partnerships, advocating for resources and administrative commitment to initiatives, tracking metrics, and being intentional about promoting a sense of belonging and inclusion.


Stacie Hargis, Middlesex Community College
Holly Butler, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Judith Hogan, Middlesex Community College
Aspyn Fulcher, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Vickie Gibbs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Callie Brauel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A2It’s “Werth” It: Connecting the Silos of UConn’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

Having attended the Deshpande Symposium to discuss the evolving entrepreneurship landscape at the university several years ago, a new University of Connecticut (UConn) contingent will share the latest learnings and progress updates with colleagues at other institutions. Moderated by experienced business leader and long-time entrepreneur mentor Kathy Rocha, the group will discuss how new synergies and initiatives have helped break down the historically siloed entrepreneurship and innovation resources at the university to create a more cohesive ecosystem. Kathy will start the discussion by briefly going over the history of entrepreneurship programming at UConn. Thereafter, she will explain the development of the new Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The mission of this new institute is to be the platform that leads an interdisciplinary and pervasive cultural shift that inspires students, faculty and programs to integrate innovative thinking and entrepreneurial activity throughout UConn. After discussing the importance of some of the new programming offered by the institute (focusing on the Innovation Expo), Kathy will break down how the institute views the entrepreneurship community in four pillars: learn, create, connect and explore. Each of these four pillars consist of groups the institute supports and includes in broader planning. After discussion of the four pillars that make up the entrepreneurial ecosystem at UConn, the group will spotlight examples of resources from which these pillars are founded. Following this, the panel will encourage discussion with the audience.


Jennifer Murphy, University of Connecticut
Cody Ryan, University of Connecticut
Christopher Bruno, University of Connecticut
Kathy Rocha, University of Connecticut

A3Can University Leaders Envision and Plan Their Entrepreneurship Ecosystems a Priori or Is the Best Approach to Allow Organic Growth with Opportunistic Development?

Universities and e-center directors face uncertainties and an overwhelming number of variables about how to innovate and develop their entrepreneurship ecosystems. Panel members will share their own experiences regarding how they developed their current ecosystems, critical decision points and the approaches they took for program selection and expansion. We will also share a new approach and methodology for evaluating which programs to implement for building a desired entrepreneurship ecosystem: the university Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Model Canvas (E2MC). Because there are so many variables associated with university entrepreneurship ecosystems, we have asked the question: “Is the most efficient approach to building an entrepreneurial ecosystem to determine the necessary and sufficient conditions to achieve desired outcomes?”


Philip Bouchard, TrustedPeer Entrepreneurship Advisory
Steve Tello, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Garret Westlake, Virginia Commonwealth University
Debi Kleiman, Babson College
Jeff Reid, Georgetown University Entrepreneurship Initiative

A4New Emerging Roles of Universities: Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

This joint panel representing two regional universities will introduce their dynamic ecosystem transformation projects, which are changing the economic trajectory of their campuses and communities. Faculty and community leaders from the University of North Alabama (UNA) College of Business, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and the City of Kingston will discuss how typical academic approaches, offering new majors and minors, and convening community leaders might be a response but it is one that doesn’t fundamentally expand its traditional role to fully address the complex challenges of regional economic development and the depletion of the region’s manufacturing sector. Entrepreneurship is inherently interdisciplinary but one of the paradoxes of university innovation and entrepreneurship programs is that they are often initiated and grown within disciplinary boundaries. For example, innovation and entrepreneurship programs are often found within STEM programs or in the curriculum of business schools. It is relatively unusual to see interdisciplinary initiatives and programs where there is a strong representation across the institution. The panelists from the two institutions will bring backgrounds from business, engineering, the humanities and health sciences to this discussion. Each panelist has had an integral role in the transformative projects, and the panelists will describe both the processes and the outcomes. They will also interact with the audience to draw out how they may use these methods to implement collaboration and change.


Mitch Hamm, University of North Alabama
Mary Marshall VanSant (moderator), University of North Alabama
Giles McDaniel, Shoals Business Incubator
J. Doug Barrett, University of North Alabama
Greg Bavington, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre
Shari Hughson, Queen’s University
James McLellan, Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre

A5 Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Beyond the Classroom

Entrepreneurship education has become big business. Institutions, nonprofits and for-profit companies are jumping on the entrepreneurship bandwagon, hoping to help launch the next big innovation or local, hipster farm-to-table restaurant. In well-resourced communities, these educators, service providers and businesses operate within a competitive business model, each trying to attract high-quality entrepreneurs during their ideation, start-up or launch phase. Unfortunately, much of this education and/or technical assistance ends where the "trough of sorrow" begins; the period in which the day-to-day grind sets in, where discipline, focus, and a clear operations plan become the singular opportunity for entrepreneurial success. During this period, most entrepreneurs find themselves under-resourced. It is in this area that entrepreneurship curriculum struggles to serve the need of its graduates as it is (and rightly) focused on the next batch of students. Middlesex Community College, UMass Lowell, Boston Equity Initiative, Interise, EforAll and others are attempting to fill these educational gaps with mentorship and technical assistance. However, based on meeting over 100 clients in the past six months at the Entrepreneurship Center at Community Teamwork, Inc., it is clear that additional, more prolonged investment of resources is needed to ensure long-term entrepreneurial success. It is well known that entrepreneurship education is highly effective in the classroom. In this panel, we will discuss how educators and service providers are working within the local ecosystem to ensure sustained support beyond the classroom. We will present our trial-and-error efforts and will seek additional guidance from the audience regarding best-case, long-term education and technical support for entrepreneurs. We will focus our discussion on how to effectively bring the support that is working so well in the classroom beyond the classroom.


Franky Descoteaux, Entrepreneurship Center at CTI
Bernard Johnson, Interise
Diana Ubinas, Boston Equity Initiative
Charles Smith, Eastern Bank
Stacie Hargis, Middlesex Community College

A6Awakening the Innovators: Expanding Entrepreneurial Opportunities Across Campus and in the Community

This panel shares three approaches for growing interdisciplinary, cross-campus and community innovation and entrepreneurship programs. At Oregon State University, entrepreneurship programming has historically been designed to meet the needs of business and engineering students. With the growth of InnovationX, the Center of Excellence for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Oregon State is working to change that. The starting point is the recognition that students who already identify as "entrepreneurs" are finding their way to existing resources. OSU envisions a campus on which entrepreneurship experiences are embedded in programs of study, co-curricular activities and professional development experiences. OSU also envisions a student body that takes for granted the presence of inclusively innovative thinking and entrepreneurial opportunity throughout their time at the university. OSU hopes for a diverse cadre of alumni innovator and entrepreneur changemakers who return to support the university's students. At Virginia Commonwealth University, the da Vinci Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has a 10-year history of providing cross-disciplinary academic programming in innovation and entrepreneurship. The university is now seeking to expand access in these fields through a full suite of academic and experiential offerings. West Virginia University has established a LaunchLab Network that reaches the main campus, as well as regional campuses and satellite centers. Connections are now being made as the university centers reach into the local communities with the goal of encouraging ideation, innovation, problem identification and the generation of solutions, as well as engaging the communities with maker spaces, innovation centers and start-ups.


Michelle Marie, Oregon State University
Garret Westlake, Virginia Commonwealth University
Carrie J. White, West Virginia University
Nora Myers, West Virginia University

A7Connecting Key Collaborators Across Multiple Departments at ASU to Create Economic Impact

A student had interest in selling his products to fellow ASU students at the Sun Devil Marketplace. While this sounds like a seemingly innocuous and sensible ambition, it initially proved to be a challenging maze of navigation across multiple disciplines. From this student’s pain point at ASU, student engagement, venture development, business services, alumni career services and leading educational products retailer Follett formed collaborations to develop a fundamental construct leading to educational and viable business opportunities for the students, faculty and community-based ventures ASU supports. Out of this collaboration, The Retail Devils Powered by Follett was born. Forging a path to eliminate barriers and create meaningful venues for ASU start-ups to peddle their goods at the largest public university in the country became a case study to put products on shelves using ASU as a test bed. Retail Devils Powered by Follett seamlessly integrates into the framework of the Venture Devils program, and supports 400+ ASU students, faculty, staff and community-based entrepreneurs. The program aims to catalyze the entrepreneurial success of founders by connecting them with a pool of Venture Mentors who provide regular, ongoing support; co-working spaces; start-up resources and training; and access to more than a dozen seed-funding tracks, which are awarded at biannual Demo Days. The Retail Devils Powered by Follett program is designed to introduce ventures to the topics of merchandising, supply chain, marketing and licensing. Partnering with alumni career services engages seasoned entrepreneurs with ASU, where they connect their expertise in the retail landscape with early-stage ventures. Participants will be given the opportunity to apply for a VIP on-campus “pop-up shop” merchandise marketing and selling experience later in the semester, which could lead to ventures securing permanent space to sell their products. The pop-up concept eliminates steep capital costs for ventures to demonstrate market viability by reducing the number of produced goods needed to enter the retail space, which allows for equitable access and incremental growth. Creating these pathways stems from the evolving entrepreneurial mind-set across multiple stakeholders to effectively develop a thriving, innovative ecosystem designed to support the throughput from ideation to scalability and sustainability. Our panel will illustrate the journey from pain point to idea to coordination to execution, including best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and the creation of infrastructure across your institution to drive innovative entrepreneurial ideas into reality. Participants attending the panel will be encouraged to consider opportunities for internal collaboration that might be unexpected. Opportunity will be given to discuss the mutual benefit of such collaborations, explore different ways to maximize the partnership to benefit all involved stakeholders, and share any perceived challenges of similar collaborations within your institution.


Tracy Lea, Arizona State University
Lauren Dunning, Arizona State University
Jim Dwyer, Arizona State University
Sophia Lovasz, Sun Devil Marketplace, Follett

Track B: Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum

B1Starting Up and Maintaining Student Involvement with Entrepreneurship Communities at Your Campus

This interactive panel will highlight different university approaches to engaging undergraduate students with meaningful extracurricular entrepreneurship opportunities. Particular attention will be paid to ways to connect with first-year students and how a residential experience can help foster an entrepreneurial mind-set while serving as an intentional platform for student community. Panelists will share best practices and failures that have informed their current programmatic approaches. We will engage the audience in discussion on how to sustain a student-driven culture of entrepreneurship community.


Lauren Dunning, Arizona State University
Haley Huie, North Carolina State University
Jake Cohen, The Ohio State University
John Surdyk, University of Wisconsin–Madison

B230 Days to Engagement: Utilizing Experiential Activities and a Novel to Engage Students

When students walk into our classroom or office for the first time, we are presented with a tremendous opportunity. How do we most effectively motivate their unbridled and often newfound interest in entrepreneurship? This panel will explore ways to introduce several key principles of the start-up process and will highlight the importance of customer interviews and feedback in testing key assumptions. The novel All in Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line is utilized in courses at several universities to help students understand the importance of direct customer feedback and gain key skills in undertaking a customer interview process. In addition, panelists will share their methodologies, tools and practices related to “the first 30 days of student engagement.” We will discuss engaging assignments, student responses and activities that have been successful in the past, and how have they evolved over the years. What tactics have not worked so well, and what did we learn from those “hiccups” to make our first 30 days with the student more effective? By the end of the session, a robust discussion will leave attendees with a list of specific methodologies, tools and practices to employ in their first interactions with the entrepreneurial student.


Michael Lehman, Lehigh University
Katharine “Kit” Needham, Carnegie Mellon University
Deborah Finch, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Michael Stull, California State University San Bernardino
Megan Nocivelli, Nichols College
Carrie White, West Virginia University

B3Going Global and Partnering Local: Online Entrepreneurship and Innovation Education Bring the Community, University and World Together

Universities that teach entrepreneurship online engage students both nationally and globally. This session will explore experiences in teaching and mentoring entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs who are not located on a college campus, as well as helping them launch businesses. Imparting the entrepreneurial mind-set virtually is achievable, and the panelists will interactively discuss their actual experiences, including lessons learned and successful teaching approaches used recently. For example, in the fall of 2018, ASU hosted a delegation from the Sultanate of Oman exploring potential collaboration in economic development and entrepreneurship. ASU’s Richard Filley will discuss the first new program created. At Simon Fraser University, Sarah Lubik has been involved in a number of innovative entrepreneurial programs, and is leading faculty efforts to globalize the university’s online entrepreneurship efforts. At Texas A&M’s School of Innovation, graduate students spent a semester designing the first of a set of online educational modules aimed at educating inventors about the process of obtaining funding from outside sources for commercializing their technologies.


Emily Finbow, Texas A&M University
Noelle Wall Sweany, Texas A&M University
Chris Scotti, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
Richard Filley, Arizona State University
Sarah Lubik, Simon Fraser University
Carolyn Hirata, Arizona State University
Andrew Gemino, Simon Fraser University

B4Social Entrepreneurship in a Liberal Arts Culture

Increasingly, incoming freshmen seek social entrepreneurship opportunities at Princeton and elsewhere. Today’s future leaders want to impact the world in positive social and environmental ways, and they want tools and opportunities to do that while in college, and beyond. How might they connect their in-class research and learning to entrepreneurial activities that achieve social impact? To support students interested in social impact, universities have historically focused on civic engagement/community service activities. These activities have tended to be short-term, relatively light-touch and focused on student education — not on community impact, “change” or the creation of new ventures. More recently, universities have embraced commercial entrepreneurship education, which overlaps in part with social entrepreneurship education. Social Entrepreneurs (SEs) have to determine feasibility (Can it work?), viability (Do the numbers work?) and demand (Do users want it?), and also have to raise capital, form teams, etc. SEs have unique challenges to overcome, in ways that conventional entrepreneurs often don’t. SEs must decide what to do — which is a much tougher question because they can do harm to a community and they operate at a “system” (not a product or service) level. Accountability is more diffused, outcome measures are complex and fundraising challenges are endemic. SEs must contend with more unknowns because they tend to operate in poorly developed markets with greater political uncertainty. One size does not fit all when it comes to entrepreneurial education. How can universities support increased student interest and strengthen teaching and research? Systemic cultural, technical and resource challenges must be overcome. For example, students and faculty must learn to cross disciplines, work in teams, partner with outside stakeholders, bring practitioners into the classrooms, teach “backbone” skills and more.


Cornelia Huellstrunk, Princeton University
Martin Johnson, Princeton University
Jordan Stallworth, Princeton University (student)

B5What Is Unique About Your Entrepreneurship Curriculum? Perspectives from Purdue University and West Virginia University

Entrepreneurship education is here to stay. More college graduates face fewer job opportunities in established companies. Many must rely on entrepreneurial skills as they find themselves employed as freelancers, consultants and subcontractors. Companies of all sizes want students with deep expertise in a discipline who also know how to create value in the form of new products and services. Today, students are more varied in terms of age, academic discipline, professional experience and career interests. Because of this, we are required to consider a wider range of educational outcomes and professional benefits beyond learning how to create a start-up, including business literacy, intrapreneurship, leadership, communication skills, creativity, innovation, design-related thinking and technology transfer. This session will look at two large land-grant universities and a smaller regional campus, and will examine the unique ways they are extending the reach of entrepreneurship education beyond the typical courses in fundamentals and venture development. Session participants will be encouraged to:

  • present the rationale for creating different types of program and course offerings beyond those focused on entrepreneurship fundamentals;
  • explore what drove them to create these programs (whether they are student-, department-, faculty- or donor-driven, or something else);
  • describe these unique offerings and the populations, characteristics, backgrounds and interests they serve;
  • discuss course objectives and content associated with these offerings; and
  • examine how and if they involve curricular, experiential and extra-curricular offerings.

We’ll discuss the results of these initiatives in terms of reach and sustainability, as well as the constraints involved in curriculum, resources and structure when creating more tailored offerings. The goal is for the audience to participate in this discussion by sharing their experiences, lessons learned, best practices, problems and challenges.


Nora Myers, West Virginia University
Carrie White, West Virginia University
Nathalie Duval-Couetil, Purdue University

B6Plugging In: Building Entrepreneurial Capacity in Community Colleges and Integrating Students into the Local Ecosystem

Entrepreneurship, more so than many subjects, is a living discipline. It requires developing an entrepreneurial mind-set — viewing problems as opportunities; applying empathy, critical thinking and creativity when developing solutions; and being flexible and adaptable. While the tools and processes inherent in venture development follow models that can be taught in the classroom, successful implementation is not guaranteed. Much of the learning is hands-on and occurs through trial and error. Connecting students with entrepreneurs from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem provides opportunities to benefit from their experience. Community colleges are in a unique position to bridge the connection between academia and experience — engaging the community in the classroom experience, and opening the classroom and its learning to the community. This panel will explore the successes and challenges that have been encountered in investing in the talent pipeline while pursuing the goal of leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs and changemakers who are typically left behind due to demographic, socioeconomic and geographic barriers. The audience will be encouraged to share their experiences in their communities in connecting students with entrepreneurs, with particular attention on strategies to be proactively inclusive in attracting diverse stakeholders.


Maya Durnovo, Houston Community College
Romi Bhatia (moderator), Miami Dade College
Jimena Zubiria, TheVentureCity

B7Integrating Entrepreneurial Disciplines to Produce an Innovative Curriculum

A major mission for a university entrepreneurial program of study is to produce unique offerings. This is a significant challenge due to the large body of work that already exists. Three innovative programs will be presented that continue to push the boundaries of entrepreneurship: (1) Polyineering: A framework that invokes a pioneering spirit by combining an entrepreneurial mind set, an engineering tool set, and a design-thinking skill set through a pollinating process. Graduate students from multiple disciplines are assembled in an experiential learning environment with the charge of starting a for-profit company. (2) Aha to Exit: The first complete entrepreneurship map that takes practitioners from ideation to harvest. Based on years of research, investment, and start-up formation, the map is comprised of 10 steps that fill in the gaps left by current frameworks and make the process more systemic and predictable. (3) Entrepreneurial Marketing That Works: At least two-thirds of the entrepreneurial process requires some form of marketing. However, traditional marketing is suited for enterprises that have considerable resources — not start-ups. Presented here is a new curriculum that blends traditional marketing with the digital and information age.


Michael Wilson, University of Miami
Sunand Bhattacharya, Boston College
Steve T. Cho, Arizona State University
Aram Chavez, Arizona State University

Track C: Research Commercialization

C1Collaboration Between the City of Akron, Summit County and the University of Akron Research Foundation to Build a Strong Ecosystem of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Drive Economic Development

The Mayor of the City of Akron, Dan Horrigan, in collaboration with Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and the Interim President of the University of Akron, John Green, have led a new initiative labeled “Elevate Akron” to expand the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship for wealth creation in the Greater Akron region. The city-owned accelerator has been transformed into the dynamic BOUNCE Innovation Hub; the UARF I Corps program has been expanded into a driving force in the community for entrepreneurial support; Summit County is driving an “Elevate Akron” campaign with the Chamber of Commerce; and the MAGNET and JumpStart entrepreneurial support organizations are fully engaged. Of course, the University of Akron and its Research Foundation are the “glue” that provides innovation leadership across all of the STEM, business and law colleges and — most importantly — the university’s EXL Student Experiential Learning Center. The panel will represent key members of the collaborative ecosystem and demonstrate the critical role that universities must play in highly successful, regional, technology-based economic development. The importance of collaboration and integration of the university into the community will be emphasized.


Barry Rosenbaum (moderator), University of Akron Research Foundation
Jason Dodson, Summit County
Heather Roszczyk, City of Akron
Anoo Vyas, University of Akron Student Experiential Learning Center for Community Engagement
EbaNee Bond, University of Akron Research Foundation

C2Let the Horses Run: Unhobbling University IP

A fundamental premise of public funding for university research is that universities will serve regional, national and global communities through the generation of intellectual capital. The impact of this capital can unfortunately remain unrealized for a broad range of reasons, including the lack of an achievable near-term application or commercialization and implementation acumen or support at the institution. Despite the potential of publicly funded IP to contribute substantially to regional and national economic development, it often languishes “on the shelf” as dissertations, university-assigned patents or within esoteric and/or limited applications. The “chasm” between the idea and its commercial instantiation remains simply too large to be viable within the confines of current institutional support. Ironically, universities are also verdant grounds for the development of entrepreneurs, many of whom are students actively seeking a mechanism through which they can also “bridge the gap” between idea and commercial realization. What is missing is not a lack of enthusiasm, drive or the capacity to try and learn but the time and resources required to develop and flesh out valuable IP. We are left with IP developers with neither the time nor (often) acumen to realize its commercial potential, and students seeking IP to take on and commercialize. This panel discussion will focus on approaches that a number of Canadian universities (Queen’s University, Ryerson University and Simon Fraser University) have taken to address this challenge, detailing best practices, challenges and lessons learned.


Sarah Lubik, Simon Fraser University
John MacRitchie, Ryerson University
James McLellan, Queen’s University
Tarek Sadek, Ryerson University
Joanna Tinus, Queen’s University

C3Hacking the Mentorship Model

This panel will look at how three universities leverage innovative programs and technology to grow entrepreneurs and ventures at their campuses. We will present and discuss three unique approaches to the design and implementation of mentorship networks, and their role in advancing technology commercialization, entrepreneurial development and strengthening university relationships with industry.


Thomas Sudow, Ashland University
Haley Huie, North Carolina State University
Max Leisten, Protopia
Jerome Smith, MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS)
Roman Lubynsky, MIT I-Corps

C4The Virtual C-Suite: A Novel Model for Nurturing Start-Ups from Idea to Series A

Translating high-potential research and invention disclosures into product candidates and viable start-up companies remains a challenge for all but a handful of research universities. To address this challenge, UMass Amherst created the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), in which venture development is organized around a “Virtual C-Suite.” Peter Reinhart joined UMass Amherst as the founding director of IALS, with a background as a university researcher; an entrepreneur; and an executive at Pfizer/Wyeth, Cogent Neuroscience and Proteostasis. He conceived the Virtual C-Suite as a means for providing pre-start-ups with the information, support and leadership they need to turn innovative ideas into start-up entities focused on real-world product candidates. This panel will describe the Virtual C-Suite model and how it serves as a catalyst for enabling start-ups, a facilitator for an entrepreneurial culture on campus and as a mechanism for engaging individuals and organizational units with overlapping interests and/or expertise. Discussion will focus on the general principles behind the Virtual C-Suite approach. In industry, the C-Suite (CEO, CSO, CFO) provides this leadership; creating a Virtual C-Suite replicates this concept in an academic setting. Realizing the Virtual C-Suite model as an environment for venture creation, the panel will describe how the vision of the Virtual C-Suite is being realized through the creation of an environment, programs and resources that help founders of applied science and technology-based start-ups achieve key milestones and success.


Karen Utgoff, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Peter Reinhart, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Michael Famighette, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Julian Atim, University of Massachusetts Amherst (student)
Nele Van Dessel, Ernest Pharmaceuticals

C5How to Run a Small Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer Office While Aiming for a Positive Cash Flow

The panelists, who represent three different academic tech transfer offices, will share their extensive experiences in the following areas:

  • Handling essential tasks with limited personnel and resources
  • Growing a small office with part-time professionals, and hiring the right licensing associate
  • Managing your cash flow by reducing patent costs and increasing licensing revenue
  • Taking advantage of interns, fellows and volunteers from business or law school, scientific departments, or other universities and industries
  • Capitalizing on the advantages and benefits of being a small office
  • Exploring additional practical strategies and advice

Todd Keiller, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Rebecca Menapace, Brandeis University
Jason Wen, Boston College

C6A National University-Linked Innovation Network: Progress and Future

The Incubate-Innovate Network of Canada (I-INC) brings together leading innovative and entrepreneurial universities from across Canada in a national network dedicated to accelerating the transfer of Canadian research-derived science and technology from lab-to-market and commercial application. I-INC leverages the incubation, acceleration, talent development and research capacity of its member institutions to support the creation of new businesses, activate linkages of university researchers with corporate partnerships, and provide a continuum of best-in-class resources and services to secure greater speed to the global market. Our programs cultivate the entrepreneurial and 21st-century experiential skills development that will drive a culture change that bridges the research community to the external community to accelerate the impact of research. Founded in 2014 by three Canadian universities — Ryerson University (Toronto, ON), Simon Fraser University (SFU, Vancouver, BC) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT, Oshawa ON) — I-INC was supported by the federal Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP). The network brought together the internationally recognized programs of the DMZ and Zones at Ryerson, VentureLabs and Venture Connection of SFU, along with the nascent Brilliant and FastStart programs at UOIT. Between 2014 and 2018, over 1,000 start-up teams accessed services from member programs, and companies supported by the programs created over 3,600 jobs and raised over CAD $550M in capital. The past five years provided insight into how to add value most effectively through a national network. Like most new ventures, the first ideas of what the market needs do not always turn out to be the reality. Some of the anticipated benefits did not materialize, while others emerged as more important. We are still evolving the processes and structures that would engage the inherently local operations of the local programs with the national network. The local and national innovation ecosystems and the funding environments have also evolved significantly over this time, making it even more critical to clearly define the value of university-linked incubator/accelerator programs to the core missions of a university. The expanding network now includes 11 universities from coast-to-coast in Canada, focused on program areas where national scale enables quality, sustainability and the development of shared best practices. These include the development of a national lab-to-market program drawing from the I-Corps and ICURe programs, and the identification and adoption of the most effective practices for diversity and inclusion in the core incubator/accelerator programs of member institutions. The development of the national network and its priorities is a work in progress. The panel members will discuss the progress to date, what brought them to the network, and what they see for its development. The panel will include representatives from one of the founding universities — Ryerson University — and representatives from Concordia University and Dalhousie University, which have joined as members from the Quebec and Atlantic regions in Canada.


John MacRitchie (moderator), Ryerson University
Joelle Foster, University of Calgary
Margaret Palmeter, Dalhousie University
Jane Sommerville, Concordia University

C7Intellectual Potpourri: Various Ways IP and Higher Ed Intersect

Universities have both a responsibility and an opportunity to interact with intellectual property. The technology transfer and commercialization operations of research institutions were conceived to allow universities to bring to market inventions and other intellectual property developed with the help of federal grants. Since that time, a set of best practices has arisen in order to best exploit the intellectual property potential on university campuses. But technology transfer has, for the most part, remained isolated from the teaching mission of most U.S. institutions of higher learning. This leads to the opportunity for universities to integrate intellectual property theory and project work into single classes, entire courses and/or throughout degree programs. This approach equips students with the tools and confidence to not only better understand technology transfer but also to learn how to protect their own inventions and develop a comprehensive IP strategy (including trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets) outside of the tech transfer environment. A facilitated discussion will encourage audience participants to share their own strategies and tactics for integrating IP in meaningful ways throughout the higher ed environment. Participants will come away with new approaches they can use to equip their students with the knowledge and tools to integrate IP into their entrepreneurial careers.


Michael Lehman, Lehigh University
Bob Shandley, Texas A&M University
Jack Manhire, Texas A&M University
Jacob Mahaffey, Oklahoma State University

Track D: Emerging Trends

D1Principles of Environmentally Responsible Engineering: Creating a Road Map for Change

Neither the principles of environmental responsibility nor the tools of sustainable design are widely integrated into science and engineering curricula. As a result, too few students have the opportunity to develop these important skill sets. As the world needs more creative solutions to the increasingly pressing problems we face in the environment, it is critical that STEM students are trained in environmental responsibility to address urgent societal needs; improve the efficiency and value of the systems and processes that support society and industry; and prepare emerging engineers and technologists with the vocabulary, tools, and practical thinking skills to drive transformative developments in the 21st century and beyond. This session will explore the challenges — both long-standing and emerging — as well as the opportunities associated with intentional integration of sustainable tools into STEM curricula. The panelists will share their approaches, best practices and pain points, and will present specific recommendations that can be used to advance the integration of sustainability into STEM education. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their ideas and feedback towards further co-development of collaborative next steps.


Phil Weilerstein, VentureWell
Jeremy Faludi, Dartmouth College
Ben Linder, Olin College
David Sanchez, University of Pittsburgh

D2Building Entrepreneurial Leaders: UNC's Adams Apprenticeship and Learning from the Entrepreneur's Genome Project

This session will present core insights and debunk some widely held myths around the topic of entrepreneurial leadership, distilling insights from UNC's longitudinal Entrepreneurs Genome Project. This project seeks to understand the differences between classical managerial leadership and the qualities of the entrepreneur. These differences — while stark — also demonstrate the importance of understanding what today's students require by way of preparation for the entrepreneurial path. UNC has leveraged this research in the development of the Adams Apprenticeship program, which seeks to support UNC's most committed and capable entrepreneurial students by matching them with experienced serial entrepreneurs under whom they "apprentice" and learn the tricks of the trade. We follow the outcome of these apprentices, and remain engaged with them for 10 years following their graduation from UNC. This session will introduce the key ingredients or "competencies" we would anticipate being in the core curricula of a leading entrepreneurship program, and show how we activate this training by augmenting the networks of our alumni and students with a high-performance entrepreneurial ecosystem. The panel will engage the audience on the topic of entrepreneurial leadership and explore different strategies for: (1) injecting key competencies into a leading entrepreneurial curricula; and (2) curating an entrepreneurial network among both students and alumni that is focused on entrepreneurship.


Ted Zoller, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Vickie Gibbs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Callie Brauel, Adams Apprenticeship

D3Scaling Innovation for the Forgotten One Billion

This panel offers insights into adaptation of the successful I-Corps program, designed for the U.S. ecosystem, in the radically different environment of India and how it can be scaled up for impact. The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (GDC) was established at IIT Madras with the charter of helping faculty at STEM colleges across India in commercializing their technologies and transforming them into robust start-ups to impact society at scale. GDC’s long-term objective is to provide the necessary thought leadership for building the systems and processes that enable innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in universities. GDC has launched its I-NCUBATE program, which is designed on the principles of Lean Start-Up and pedagogy adapted from the I-Corps program of the National Science Foundation. George Washington University has partnered with GDC for I-NCUBATE, and has trained the trainers as well as over 100 faculty, researchers and students at IIT Madras. GDC has implemented I-NCUBATE at IIT Bombay, helping another 50 researchers and students in becoming more entrepreneurial. The panel seeks to share its learnings from implementing I-NCUBATE at IITM and IITB, and how it can be scaled across India to transform the lives of the forgotten one billion.


Raghuttama Rao Raghavendra, IIT Madras
KV Anand, IIT Madras
Anand Kusre, IIT Bombay
Krishnan Balasubramanian, IIT Madras
James Chung, George Washington University

D4The Benefits of a Makerspace at Any Scale for Universities

This panel will present two different approaches to building makerspaces on a university campus. The BEAM Network (UNC) and the Makerspace at the UNH Entrepreneurship Center built their respective makerspaces on two different scales. Panelists will discuss their experiences building and using the makerspaces. In particular they will explain how access to a makerspace fosters the entrepreneurial mind-set for students, regardless of background or major. They will also divulge lessons learned about how to engage academics with the makerspace, including course integration and evaluation. Panelists will discuss challenges and opportunities surrounding the perceived demand and need from students and faculty for the makerspace.


Heather MacNeill, University of New Hampshire
Michelle Bolas, University of North Carolina

D5 Teaching and Working with Global Entrepreneurship and Ecosystem Challenges

Diverse entrepreneurial environments — which vary from country to country and region to region, each with its own ecosystem — determine the possibilities of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs must be able to assess the attributes and risks associated with these environments and ecosystems as part of their planning and decision making. Our schools have increasing numbers of international students who need to learn more about the possibilities and risks in places other than the U.S., and entrepreneurship and business economics educators are called upon to address this diversity of environments. While we can describe and discuss a range of current programs and best practices, we want to raise a number of critically important questions during our presentation and engage the whole audience in exploring them with us. Specifically:

  • How do financial systems and political infrastructure that vary among different countries affect entrepreneurial ventures?
  • How can we or entrepreneurs build effective partnerships in-country, like those we have here in our region (i.e., our ecosystem)?
  • What are the impacts of culture on marketing different types of products or services?
  • How do we go about this, what do we teach, how do we best utilize our academic and off-campus ecosystem resources, what are we currently doing, and what questions emerge?

Following brief presentations from each panelist with audience participation, we will engage with panel attendants by having our panel members sit at individual tables. Each panelist will facilitate a discussion around one or more of these questions.


Richard (Rick) Feldman, Mount Holyoke College
Mary G. Schoonmaker, Western New England University
Bret Golann, Hampshire College
Stephen Brand, University of Massachusetts Amherst

D6Building International Bridges to Advance Entrepreneurial Collaboration

Panelists will explain how their international collaborations came to be, and will talk about their cross-border incubation activities during the 2018 Deshpande Symposium. Raj Melville, Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation, facilitated a meeting between the HTIC team and M2D2 team to explore areas where collaboration could be fostered. In the months that followed, Mary Ann Picard, Director of Operations for M2D2, and Muthu Singaram, CEO of HTIC at IIT Madras, held several teleconferences to brainstorm how a collaboration could be established and fostered. Mary Ann traveled to Chennai this past November to further explore the collaboration. During the visit, the decision was made to start with the M2D2 $200K Challenge in January 2019, then move forward. This process will be discussed in greater detail during the panel, and an explanation of Deshpande funding for India-based finalists in the $200K Challenge will also be shared. When approached for funding, the Deshpande Foundation readily agreed to send up to three M2D2 $200K Challenge finalist teams to Boston to become familiar with the local ecosystem and work with — and learn from — the start-ups and other subject matter experts. Serban Georgescu, Manager of the Canadian Technology Accelerator, and Mary Ann Picard from M2D2 recently agreed on an international partnership. In the program they are currently developing, a spring cohort of start-ups from Quebec will spend time at M2D2. Details of this collaboration will be shared during the panel, as will an explanation of the funding for the Canadian partnership. A demonstration of the success of these international partnerships will also be shared. This panel will be led by a moderator, who will ask questions (such as: Why would university-based incubator programs host each other’s start-ups?) to stimulate discussion with panelists and the audience.


Mary Ann Picard, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Muthu Singaram, HTIC Incubator, IIT Madras
Serban Georgescu, Canadian Technology Accelerator
Jeff Champagne (moderator), MPR Associates
Christine Sarkisian, Consulate General of Canada

D7 Environmental Factors Influencing the Entrepreneurial University — A Global Perspective: North America, the Middle East and Asia

The concept of an entrepreneurial university is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Entrepreneurship education and experiential learning are seen as important tools to deal with changing economic, social and cultural conditions. This panel will share distinct environmental factors that impact and influence the development of an entrepreneurial university in their particular region. In addition, each of the panel members will provide innovative practices and strategies to address and adapt to these factors. Although each of the regions may face specific local challenges, there are unique similarities in their expected outcomes and impact on society.


Colette Hart, Cleveland State University
Bettina Lynda Bastian, USEK University
David Chechelashvili, Ilia State University
Iryna Lendel, Cleveland State University
Professor Yuli Zhang, Nankai University