Services of an Innovation Center to Cultivate Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development
Through the Network, innovation centers committed to cultivating entrepreneurship and sustainable development work toward creating or enhancing one or more of the following services:
- Designated facility and staff
- Each center employs full-time staff and serves students, faculty and staff, community members and local enterprises in entrepreneurial and design endeavors that support sustainable growth.
- Coworking facilities: Each center provides shared workspace and offices to encourage relationship building.
- Makerspaces: Centers furnish a physical space that provides community access to manufacturing and digital fabrication equipment, prototyping, and micro-manufacturing.
- Business incubation: Centers provide physical space that offers mentorship and business assistance, providing business relationships and resources beyond what the users can find on their own.
- Capacity building tools and educational resources
- Coaching, training and workshops: Centers offer structured courses on relevant topics, best practices, coding and software development, social media strategy, public speaking, accounting, investor management, and other topics as deemed necessary.
- Sustainability curriculum: Centers offer expertise, courses, and resources for users to incorporate sustainable development goals in the innovation and entrepreneurship process.
- Mentorship: Centers design and offer structured mentorship programs, providing users access to technical, financial, and sales expertise.
- Business acceleration: Centers devise a program of study and mentorship with a defined length of time focused on fast company growth, often incorporating investment opportunities and providing key relationships with investors.
- Legal services: Centers arrange access to low-cost or discounted legal services to assist with business creation and patenting.
- Collaboration and partnership engagement tools
- Centers connect to other campus departments for exposure and collaboration, and build relationships outside of the academic institution and campus, participating in and contributing to the community’s broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Access to regional, national, and global competitions: Centers offer connection to global competitions, including those focused on sustainability, that offer cash prizes, investment, and publicity mentorship.
- Industry connections: Centers provide access to government entities and industry partners to improve access to resources and investments (e.g., angel investors, grants and funding sources) for sustainable development and provide the mentorship, capacity and resources required to cultivate businesses.
- Communications and marketing: Centers create broader publicity efforts to increase visibility of users.