Colleges are often at the forefront for innovation, with diverse minds coming together to explore new ideas. This culture of untethered exploration is why University of California President Janet Napolitano declares that colleges are the perfect incubators for startups.
“Increasingly, public research universities are answering the call to help incubate new ideas and technologies,” writes Napolitano in a blog.
Since 1968, Napolitano says UC research alone has fostered the creation of 1,300 startups. Thanks to the academic environment and resources available on campus, Napolitano says colleges are uniquely able to help reduce the overhead of startups, ultimately assisting with the success of all involved.
Recently, Arizona State University entered a partnership with Draper University, a private enterprise in Silicon Valley devoted to entrepreneurship in the tech industry, to educate students on the ins and outs of tech startups.
During the four-month program, students will learn about everything from bitcoin to the Internet of Things and then use this knowledge to design and pitch a new startup company, the hope being that many of these students might be able to start real companies.
“We’re excited to continue to evolve ASU’s creative entrepreneurship teaching and learning environments, and our relationship with Draper allows us to take them to the next level,” says Michael M. Crow, ASU’s president, in a press release.
Other universities have embraced entrepreneurship programs to pique the interest of millennial students who want to prepare for the job market.
The Georgia Institute of Technology has opened an entrepreneurial lab designed for undergraduates to play around with their innovative ideas, CNBC reports.
“The reality is most people at a university are generally the undergraduates,” says Keith McGreggor, the director of the college’s VentureLab. “New ideas could really come from anywhere. So to ignore the largest population of people on your campus is kind of a nutty idea, but we certainly did for a long time.”
Entrepreneurship labs can be beneficial for both the students and the community. Since students are learning in-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills and business acumen, college communities can benefit from the startups launched. With an ever-evolving job market, working on entrepreneurship while still at school can be highly beneficial for students.
“[Students] are very interested and understand it’s more likely they’ll create their own job than have a job from someone else for a long period of time,” says Christy Wyskiel, the head of the startup incubator at Johns Hopkins University, in the CNBC article.