Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The Minnovation team is the hub of innovation and entrepreneurship at the College of Science & Engineering.  The innovation ecosystem at CSE supports students, faculty, and startups at all stages of the entrepreneurial journey through academic and experiential programs, mentoring, and community connections.

Join our StartupTree community today to start your journey.

Education

The Technological Leadership Institute is currently developing a new undergraduate minor focused on leading in the world of technology innovation.

Undergraduate Management of Technology (MOT) Minor
The Management of Technology (MOT) Minor provides a path for motivated students to gain an understanding of business and innovation practices in emerging and global technology-driven companies.  MOT educates students to serve as leaders in the innovation economy with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to develop, scale and deliver breakthrough solutions to real-world problems. They will be prepared to do so within a range of organizational contexts.

Students who complete the MOT Minor will have developed knowledge and skills in:

  • The innovation process from the conception of an initial invention and the problem it may solve, to the refinement of the solution, to the considerations needed in the scale-up and delivery of the solution, to the launch of a new product or an appropriately funded entity.
  • The personal skills of communication, teamwork, decision-making and leadership, and the integrity and character that are necessary to engage with stakeholders and develop the invention into a real-world product or process.
  • Strategies and methods to engage in rigorous iterations to identify and deeply understand societal needs/problems and develop robust scalable solutions.
  • Types of organizational models and designs for the delivery of innovations to the world.
  • Understand the foundations of finance, legal and marketing to run the business of technology.

 

Courses

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MOT 4001: Leadership, Professionalism and Business Basics for Engineers

MOT 4001 is designed to provide scientists and engineers with a working knowledge of the broader business context of technology. The course content and the experiential learning approach reflect the real-world requirements and challenges technical professionals need to master in order to thrive in collaborative, project team environments. Similar to the MOT graduate program, this two-credit course will broaden students' personal leadership abilities, enabling technical professionals to increase their business impact and career success.

MOT 4002: Technically Speaking Leadership Lecture Series

The course features a selection of highly accomplished industry speakers, including UMN alumni, who share their unique insights on industry developments, leadership, and innovation accumulated through experience in their careers. The lecture series serves as a discovery course for topics at the intersection of technology, innovation and leadership.  During the course, keynote speakers will share their insights on critical thinking, communication and collaboration as it relates to innovation and entrepreneurship. They will focus specifically on success and failures around crafting their business idea and story, building a team, creating the trust necessary for investment/collaboration and breaking boundaries to create change.

MOT 4003: Leading Technology Innovation

This course provides students the perspective of a Technology Leader of an organization or product team. Details the innovation process, from an idea's inception through impact in the economy, regardless of organizational setting. Explores how solutions are developed to become ready for broader market deployment. Includes testing and development of the problem-solution fit, probing of solutions for robustness, and testing of both technical and operational scaling of proposed solutions. Examines the human aspects of innovation, specifically issues of team building and readiness. Considers the broader system for innovation, including the role of key stakeholders in shaping its success in order to arrive at an impactful solution. Addresses intellectual property, the effect of regulations and social and cultural differences across varied global markets, and the personal skills necessary to align and manage these issues

MOT 4004: Leading Innovation Teams

This course provides students the perspective of a Chief Technology Officer leading the transformation of technologies to products entering the market.  Includes testing and development of the value proposition, and product-market fit. Examines the human aspects of company culture and building a team for growth. Considers the broader requirements for business model, go-to-market, funding, and resources required to build and scale a business.  Addresses the skills needed to effectively communicate the organization’s strategy, technology roadmap, and growth and impact objectives.

Learn more

Contact Mark Sanders, Donald Osell - Gemini Chair in Entrepreneurship, to learn more about our courses, programs, collaborations, and resources.

Programs

Start-up weekend

The UMN Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend!
Learn about what it takes to start a company in one weekend with other students.  No experience necessary.  Ideas are welcome but not required.  This event is a great place to connect with passionate people driven to build something new. There is no better place to meet new friends, colleagues, mentors, cofounders, and investors. Here, you can learn from experienced entrepreneurs, network with professionals, and gain knowledge about entrepreneurship.

Summer startup accelerator

This selective summer accelerator picks the most promising emerging startups across campus and helps them confront their next market-driven milestone. The accelerator was started with the goal of empowering student entrepreneurs to vet their ideas, test the waters, learn the tips and tricks of entrepreneurship, and try their hands at obtaining funding.


Circular Economy Incubator

The Minnovation team is working to leverage all of the resources in Minnesota to establish a world class Circular Economy Incubator.  Minnesota has a rich ecosystem of corporate partners, university research, and entrepreneurial support for the cleantech community across the wide spectrum of circular economy industries.

MVP Challenge

The MVP Challenge is an opportunity to advance technologies emerging from University of Minnesota labs, clubs or courses. An MVP might just be an illustration, or it might be a look-and-feel “alpha” prototype or it might be an actual working “beta” prototype. All three options are fair game in the MVP Challenge, because we are looking for “Most Visionary Prototypes” that illustrate the potential of innovations to make a positive difference for people, businesses, society or the environment.

Collaborations

MIN CORPS

MIN-Corps is the University of Minnesota hub for technology innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization. 

We provide education and coaching programs that help STEM students, postdocs and faculty develop the skills required to translate innovations into product and services with real-world impact.  

Toaster

Free to use for all UMN students, the Toaster offers reservable spaces for group meetings, workshops, and events; a maker space with hands-on equipment and supplies; and access to all things UMN innovation and entrepreneurship.

EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP)

A collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages DOE national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.

Prototyping Resources

The University of Minnesota has a vast assortment of prototyping resources to support innovation in all forms. A video overview of all of the resources outlined below can be found here along with the presentation slides to go with it. 

Anderson Labs

Anderson Student Innovation Labs support research, coursework, student groups, hands-on projects, and entrepreneurial activities within CSE by providing state-of-the-art equipment and space. Within Anderson labs, there are three dedicated makerspaces to accommodate prototyping needs (Anderson Design Lab, Anderson Build Lab, and Polaris Student Machine Shop)

St Anthony Falls Laboratory

The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is an interdisciplinary fluid mechanics research lab and educational facility under the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. SAFL has expertise in fluid mechanics and collaboration across disciplines.

Fabrication Shops - College of Design

The College of Design Fabrication Shops are open labs where students enrolled in a College of Design course have access to equipment and support to work on assigned projects. Our spaces include a woodshop, metal shop, digital fabrication tools, and a materials store. We welcome students of all levels of shop experience and pride ourselves on facilitating your exploration and curiosity.

Library makerspaces

  •  Health Sciences Makerspace 
    The Health Sciences Makerspace is located in the Health Sciences Education Center. The Makerspace provides equipment, materials, and tools that promote innovation and creativity. The space is free to all U of M Twin Cities faculty, students, and staff. 
  • Toaster Breakerspace  
    Free to use for all UMN students, the Toaster offers reservable spaces for group meetings, workshops, and events; a maker space with hands-on equipment and supplies; and access to all things UMN innovation and entrepreneurship.

Bakken Medical Device Center 

Home to a unique learning environment with extensive prototyping equipment suitable for engineering collaborations with industry and medicine. The Bakken Medical Device center is home to a Mechanical Prototyping Lab and an Electrical Prototyping Lab as well as several additional resources.