Did you know the University of Connecticut has supported over 950 startup ventures? The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI), a division of the UConn School of Business, hosted an ice cream social on Tuesday, Sept. 19 to promote resources and networking opportunities to help student entrepreneurs.
The “Entrepreneurs and Ice Cream” event kicked off on the School of Business green, located in between Hillside Road and the Student Recreation Center. UConn students had the chance to enjoy Dairy Bar ice cream sundaes, mingle with students affiliated with the program and learn about different innovation resources. One of the events sponsored by CCEI includes “Get Seeded,” which allows UConn students opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in investment funding for innovative ideas as well as support from other students who may be interested in joining their business ventures. Open to all UConn students, over 50 startups have received seed capital in the last five years from these interactive events, where the audience decides who to fund.
Some popular programs facilitated through CCEI include the Summer Fellowship and Wolff New Venture Competition, featuring live pitches by the top startups coming out of UConn each year.
“Before learning about the CCEI, I didn’t expect to get started with business [this soon],” said Amelia Martin, a graduate plant science major. Her company Mud Rat, which creates environmentally sustainable surfboard materials, was a finalist in UConn’s Innovation Quest this past spring. “It would be nonexistent without these programs,” Martin added.
Mud Rat is just one of many successful outgrowths of CCEI’s initiatives. The startup accelerator helps student entrepreneurs develop the skills needed to bring new products, services and technologies to market over the course of eight weeks.
Another activity that CCEI helps organize is UConn’s upcoming Month of Discovery, throughout October. These partnerships allow students to be exposed to events centered around research, creativity and innovation. The events include presentations from UConn’s four makerspaces, the Krenicki Arts and Engineering Institute and OPIM Innovate. Starting on Oct. 5, Students can get hands-on experiences through scavenger hunts, learn about the range of research and creative projects being pursued by students and opportunities for entrepreneurs. These events will allow interested students to network with other innovators, industry experts and learn from UConn Career specialists.
For more information regarding the CT Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, visit ccei.uconn.edu