Now that the first month of school and the busy work that comes with it is nearly behind you, the business of getting down to entrepreneurial brass tacks can begin.

Cincinnati is a bit of an embarrassment of riches for the student (of any age) looking to   learn how to be a better entrepreneur — or start completely from scratch.

In this guide series, we’ll outline resources for both enrolled students and those outside the fold of local colleges and universities to make the journey a bit easier. Included in each installment is everything from competitions to programs, classes to funding and more, with descriptions provided by the school of the week’s respective websites. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all the featured institutions have to offer, but instead a highlight of their relevant startup, tech and entrepreneurial elements.

First up? University of Cincinnati.

For our coverage, Cincy Inno spoke with UC’s Thomas Dalziel, Ph.D. He’s the executive director of the UC Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization and associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management in the department of management, and as such has a front-row seat to all that’s happening in the university’s innovation scene. In italics below, Dalziel outlines UC’s business offerings and what sets them apart. 

The entrepreneurship program at UC’s Lindner College of Business is one of just 15 entrepreneurship programs, from a field of 34 countries, recently spotlighted by the AACSB — the world’s foremost academic association. Lindner’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization is ranked first among 225 entrepreneurship centers worldwide for interdisciplinary collaboration.  

UC is home to academic diversity that is matched by only eight universities nationwide. The entrepreneurship program and center integrates with eight academic programs serving graduate and undergraduate business, engineering, industrial design, information technology, music, fashion, medical and other students from UC’s 14 colleges. Student’s engage in a highly applied curriculum, starting companies and generating income as early as their freshmen year.

Complementing this applied coursework, students join UC’s student incubator, StartupUC, or one of several entrepreneurship clubs such as the Entrepreneurship Club, the Bearcat Launchpad, and the Techno-mentorship Establishment, where they engage with successful entrepreneurs, connect with mentors and learn to grow their own ventures. Hundreds of students UC-wide compete each year at the Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch competition. They receive funding support from UC’s Fealy Bearcat Bridge Fund, and the new Keating New Venture Fund, which is matched dollar for dollar by the Ohio Third Frontier Program through CincyTech. From this process, 40+ student-led startups, micro-businesses, and technology ventures emerge annually, many of which join StartupCincy through partners such as The Brandery, HCDC and OCEAN, or are funded by CincyTech, QCA, and others. A few of these companies can be found at the UC Entrepreneurs page and at StartupUC.com.

“Diversity and interdisciplinary collaboration are igniting innovation UC-wide!” Dalziel told Cincy Inno in an email. “We couldn’t be more proud of our students entrepreneurs. And, we’re excited by the opportunities the new Carl H. Lindner College of business building (opening fall 2019) as well as the new makerspace, Venture Labs, and other facilities at UC’s new 1819 Innovation Hub (opening fall 2018) will afford our program, students, and our valued community partners.”

Think we’re missing something? Reach out, here.


University of Cincinnati at a Glance
Entrepreneurial Offerings
  • Course Offerings: A suite of relevant business and entrepreneurial classes, like “Guided Study in Entrepreneurship” and “Intro to Innovation.” Students are also given the opportunity to study abroad. Online courses are also available. The Linder College is AACSB Accredited (and has been since 1919!) and posts a first-of-its-kind co-op program, which has enrolled students work full time at companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kroger and ESPN — and are paid to do so.
  • Majors/Minors/Concentrations: 
    • Entrepreneurship Minor
    • Entrepreneurship Major
    • Business and Entrepreneurship Law: “The challenges faced by businesses in the 21st century demand a new kind of business lawyer — one with a superior understanding of the law, an appreciation for the blinding speed of change, and the technological expertise to deliver legal solutions more efficiently than ever before. Cincinnati Law graduates are prepared to deliver sophisticated legal representation in an ever-changing business environment.”
    • MBA: “The program is uniquely designed to fit each student’s specific needs and consists of 48 credit hours: 10 credit hours of foundation classes, 26 credit hours of core classes and 12 credit hours of electives.” Online, full time and online options are available. The UC College of Medicine also includes dual MD/MBA degrees.
    • Various Business degrees, as well as Masters and Ph.D. opportunities
    • Graduate Certificates: A stand-alone or add-on element that can help enhance a student’s resume or degree. UC offers graduate certificates in Data Analytics, Marketing and Operations Excellence.
A prestigious building the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Photo Credit: The Dman, Getty Images
  • Colleges/Centers/Significant Campus Buildings:
  • Funding Opportunities
    • Fealy Bearcat Bridge Fund: Established in 2001 thanks to a Coleman Foundation grant and support from donors like Robert Fealy, the eponymous fund aims “foster entrepreneurship among students from all UC colleges and campuses.” Practically, it awards funding (typically) between $1,000 and $5,000, as well as other goods and services, to founders developing “promising technologies and the launch of new ventures.” However, founders with enterprises of all types are encouraged to apply. Interested students (and alumni within six months of graduation) are eligible to submit proposals throughout the academic year up until 11:59 p.m. on May 27. Proposals are then reviewed, with winners announced mid-summer. Apply here.
Main Street at the University of Cincinnati. Photo Credit: jmkh, Getty Images
  • Accelerators/Incubators
    • Bearcat Launchpad: A student-led accelerator. “The mission of Bearcat Launchpad is to act as the stepping stone for students to get involved in this community. By providing education, mentorship and funding through our program we hope to accomplish our mission. By providing students with the connections and resources they need Bearcat Launchpad prepares our companies to graduate into the #StartupCincy ecosystem!”
    • StartupUC Student Incubator: “The purpose of the StartupUC Student Incubator program is to bring together interdisciplinary teams of student innovators from all across UC, guiding and supporting them in the launch of their startups.” Boasts two different cohorts for entrepreneurs of different levels: ideation (just starting out) and launch (ideas are more developed). Current UC students and those who are on startup partners with current UC students are eligible to participate in the incubator. $50 for software license required to participate.
    • Technology Accelerator for Commercialization: “The University of Cincinnati’s Technology Accelerator for Commercialization was founded as a one-stop resource for transitioning scientific breakthroughs into market opportunities.”
  • Other Programs
    • Executive Education and Development: “The executive education and development program at the Center provides executive MBA-level coursework for executives, business leaders, and functional managers seeking an action-oriented curriculum that both accelerates change, and stimulates firm performance.”
    • Small Business Institute Consulting Program: “Located in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, the SBI facilitates a mutual exchange between students who want to learn more about small business and entrepreneurship, and organizations that want to further their success.” Those interested in getting involved must apply.
    • Back to Business: “Back to Business is an inexpensive and cost-deferred learning opportunity for business professionals who have been disadvantaged by the recent economic slump.” Interested participants must apply.
    • E3 Internship Program: “The Center has created a unique internship where entrepreneurial students work directly with our startup partners for a semester while taking a course for free! The Center provides start-ups with cost effective labor and students with free credit hours and professional experience. Other benefits to business include lower-than-minimum-wage student labor, help with candidate selection, and ongoing mentorship by the Center during the internship.”
Image: Hero Images via Getty Images.
  • Competitions
    • LAUNCH UC Overnight Business Startup Program: “LAUNCH is a week-long overnight program that orients high school students to the world of business and enables exploration of Cincinnati’s thriving business community and startup ecosystem.” Participants can win $1,000 in cash prizes and network with leaders in the VC world among other activities and opportunities during the program. Applicants must be high school students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, be able to commit around one hour of weekly preparation and costs $1,279.
    • IQ Elevator Pitch Competition: “Have you ever thought about a new, innovative idea for a product, service or social enterprise? Do you believe it could be the basis for a successful new start-up? Then join us for the University of Cincinnati Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch Competition!” UC students could win $5,000 in cash prizes and $20,000 in startup grants. Interested students must apply.
    • Charles Matthews Business Plan Competition: “Each year, the Center for Entrepreneurship & Commercialization, in conjunction with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, holds an internal best field case competition, the Charles Matthews Business Plan Competition, to select the top field cases completed by Carl H. Lindner College of Business teams.” The 15-week competition is aimed at Graduate-level and senior undergraduate-level students taking ENTR7089, ENTR5098 and ENTR5097, and they’ll work to develop business plans for local businesses.
    • Undergraduate New Venture Competition: “This annual competition is open to undergraduate students from across the University of Cincinnati enrolled in ENTR 5070: New Venture Planning. Entrants participate in an elevator pitch contest, new venture plan presentation contest and submit a complete written business plan, which draws upon their learning in all functional disciplines. Work is adjudicated using world-renowned Venture Labs Investment Competition (formerly Moot Corp) Business Plan Competition criteria.” Established in 2005.
  • Clubs/Extracurriculars
Photo Credit: Maskot, Getty Images