At Wentworth, entrepreneurship is a mindset, or so says Associate Vice President of the Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Monique Fuchs. She watches students deal with ambiguity every day, challenge the status quo and find the answers to any of the problems they face.
“No matter if you want to launch a company or join a company, we have the critical thinkers,” Fuchs admits, claiming they’ve created a vehicle at Wentworth they can now use to push those thinkers even further: ACCELERATE.
ACCELERATE is an “innovation + entrepreneurship” challenge designed for Wentworth students who are looking to turn their ideas into a reality. The pilot program launched in May, and attracted over 50 students and 15 interdisciplinary teams. Students worked through six weeks of workshops, meeting with various local venture capitalists, MassChallenge and TechStars employees. At the end of the six weeks, the teams faced off in a Pitchfest, and Wentworth dished out $29,000 in total to five of the teams.
With a new semester came a new ACCELERATE, and Fuchs says they were able to triple the amount of teams and get over 100 students involved. Seventeen interdisciplinary startup teams will be pitching tomorrow, ranging from a mobile app that allows temporary and flexible events the ability to generate and share maps to a device helping improve home insulin infusion.
Fuchs admits Wentworth has “a big pool of product innovation,” pointing to this summer’s top $10,000 winner, a team building better pedicabs (above). “We all understand what a product can do,” she says, referring to why people gravitate toward Wentworth, where students are constructing actual prototypes.
To see some of the prototypes for yourself, Wentworth is welcoming the public to their latest Pitchfest taking place today at 4 p.m. To register, you can click here.
“Our goal with ACCELERATE is really to create a learning experience,” Fuchs says. Wentworth has been encouraging their students to keep an open mind and think of the impact they could have before going out and planting any ideas.
And they know they’re on the right track when a student following this summer’s program looked at Fuchs and said: “Wow, [this program] really changed my life. It gave me the confidence to know I can launch a company.”
Photo Courtesy of Wentworth/ACCELERATE