Colleges launch entrepreneur hubs to recruit and support students

In an effort to attract the most talented students, colleges are beginning show students that they can accommodate their entrepreneurial drive and ideas, David Gernon writes for CNBC.

For many of the most entrepreneurial STEM students entering college in the last several years, there was no way from them to obtain the resources they needed to get their ideas to the marketplace, writes Gernon. Upon deciding which institutions may the best for them, prospective students think about whether they can use resources from the college's infrastructure to grow their ideas. But the fact that many universities did not have facilities and programs that support undergraduate student innovation presented a major roadblock for students, writes Gernon.

In response, many colleges have begun creating innovation and entrepreneurship hubs on campus. For instance, initiatives called CREATE-X and VentureLab were created at the Georgia Institute of Technology, each as an "umbrella of entrepreneurial support programs," Gernon writes. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute was founded at the University of Utah as a "hub for student innovation." And Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures was created at Johns Hopkins University as the institution's "startup incubator."

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"New ideas could really come from anywhere," says Keith McGreggor, the director of the VentureLab at Georgia Tech. And ideas and results have indeed been coming from these initiatives.  

Over 81 startups have been founded through George'a Tech's CREATE-X, which collectively earned two million dollars through investments in just three years, Gernon writes. One of them is an app called FIXD, which helps drivers with their car's technical issues by providing helpful instructions.

Another product called Sunrise Health was founded via John Hopkins Technology Ventures. Sunrise Health is an "artificial intelligence messaging" app that helps deliver mental health care to people who need it, Gernon writes

Not only are these hubs contributors to their local economies and communities, they are also a great way to recruit and retain students who are among the most talented in STEM, Gernon writes. For example, over 5,000 students worked on a project in the Lassonde Institute last year at the University of Utah. In addition, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures had only seven project applications three years ago, and this year it received 40 (Gernon, CNBC, 7/23).  

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