Are you an idea person who has a concept for a new product or service for a start-up business? Get started here. Western New England University is one of the best kept secrets in higher education for students who want to start their own businesses. Rivaling the scope of offerings and experiences found at top tier business schools, we offer a broad range of opportunities for students to learn how to turn their "Big Idea" into a working business. From unique courses and collaborations with our College of Engineering and School of Law, to alliances with the business community, we provide the proving ground to nurture your entrepreneurial spirit and help you realize your dream of one day owning your own business.
The Entrepreneurship Major: Two Paths to Innovation
Recognizing the important role such start-up businesses play in driving our economic engine, Western New England University provides a solid business foundation for future business owners. The Entrepreneurship major will inspire you how to turn your “Big Idea” into a working business or new product. You can choose an entrepreneurial path toward becoming your own boss or an intrepreneurial track to be an innovator within a corporation.
Product Innovation and Development Course: A Unique Business and Engineering Student Collaboration
In the business world, engineers and business professionals work together to develop and launch new products. That's why we provide a unique classroom experience to give you a competitive advantage once you graduate. Through our cross-disciplinary Product Innovation and Development course, funded in part by a grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, entrepreneurial “e-teams” of engineering and marketing students collaborate to turn ideas into marketable products. From a new bit design for saw blade manufacturer, to a lightweight new handcuff for law enforcement, prototypes are developed and marketing plans are made. After competing against one another, the most successful e-team may even go on to a national entrepreneurship competition. In 2010 and again in 2011, a Western New England University team was invited to compete against the nation's elite during the fourth annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers Innovation Showcase (IShow), where it placed in the top 10.
Below are some of the diverse products our e-teams have developed. Several provisional patents have been filed under the students' names.
- a device that monitors autoclave sterilization of reusable medical products for Third World countries
- an innovative system which uses a cap worn under athlete's helmets and wireless technology to detect and report impacts that can lead to brain concussions
- a quick-change arbor attachment sponsored by Lenox designed to make drilling holes with a portable drill faster and more precise
- a affordable, portable AA or AAA battery charger that can be powered by a bicycle in Third World countries
- an ultra-violet water purification system for Third World countries
- a combination weed whacker-grass trimmer to reduce changover time and improve productivity
- a battery-powered pipe bender for AVC professionals
- a significantly improved breast lumpectomy surgical tool that reduces surgical time
- an automatic turn signal for motorcycles to improve safety
To learn more about entrepreneurship opportunities available through the College of Business, contact Dr. Mary Schoonmaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's Your Big Idea?
Entrepreneurship Club: Be a Part of It
Sharing ideas with fellow students who have the same goals to be entrepreneurs is a great way to build your business skills outside the classroom. Through the student-run Entrepreneurship Club, you'll find a forum to share stories of successes and failures, develop important contacts with classmates and members of the business community, and learn the value of relationship building to start-up business ventures.
Planting Seeds for Success
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a variety of programming of interest to future entrepreneurs at Western New England University. By utilizing workshops, academic programs, and our popular Speaker Series, the Center fosters entrepreneurial thinking across our Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and our School of Law. The Center also assists small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups in the Pioneer Valley with professional services and informational and educational resources.
Each fall, Western New England University hosts a 3 Day Startup (3DS) event, a 72-hour learning-by-doing campus workshop that teaches entrepreneurial skills to university students in an extreme hands-on environment. 3DS is an organization that that helps campuses organize entrepreneurial workshops to provide their students experience in creating a start-up company. Undergraduate and graduate students in all majors are invited to participate in the Western New England University event at which local entrepreneurs serve as mentors and judges.
One product resulting from the event is already in development. AnyCafé was invited to participate in a 3DS event in Austin and participated in the Valley Venture Mentors’ (VVM) Accelerator Program for burgeoning entrepreneurs. Watch a video interview of the team on PBS.
View photos from this year's 3D Start-Up Weekend.