- The University of Connecticut has established a $1.5 million investment fund to support entrepreneurial development among students, faculty and staff specializing in tech and innovation startups.
- The fund is a joint venture between the institution, a private investment group and a bank, and will award up to $100,000 for ventures with high potential for commercialization or patents.
- UConn joins institutions like the University of Maryland Baltimore County and NYU, which also offer campus stakeholders grants and funding for research and development transfer into the marketplace.
Innovation funds are an ideal way for research institutions to create alternative revenue streams, especially considering the number of revolutionary tech companies created in dorm rooms by students, such as Facebook, Napster and hundreds of mobile apps, all launched without startup capital. But a growing climate of endowment scrutiny can make this a difficult sell for some schools. The University of Virginia faces questions about its plans for a similar investment fund, which lawmakers have criticized and demanded details from the institution.
Another consideration for smaller institutions is broadening the scope of innovation. While tech may be the greatest industry for short-term, high volume earning potential, schools with high liberal arts focus can consider start-up funds for bloggers, psychologists and social workers looking to create independent practice, professional services contracting businesses, and other non-tech ventures in areas matching industrial growth and the potential to earn state and federal contracts.