The NCIIA grant will provide a structured platform for chemistry majors and students in Dominican’s MBA in Sustainable Enterprise (Green MBA) program to develop and market projects focused on providing sustainable solutions to environmental issues. Students will draw on the resources of Dominican’s Venture Greenhouse, a business accelerator and incubator program, as they work on taking their projects from laboratory and into the marketplace.
The inspiration for the project grew from a partnership between Stig Westling, MBA ’11, and current MBA student Ryan Brown. Together they worked with the Venture Greenhouse to launch Urban Algae, a company that is both a provider of algal-based products as well as a supplier of the systems that can provide these products.
All students involved in the new program will meet with Westling and Brown to learn about Urban Algae and its algae culture collection work. This will enable students to directly see and experience this innovative concept, experience the differences between commercial research and individual laboratory research, and be exposed to the emerging commercialization of bio-based products.
Beginning this fall, 12 chemistry students will start working with 12 MBA students enrolled the “Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship” course. Together they will brainstorm commercial applications for a product derived from the chemistry students’ research. While evaluating ideas, the students will focus on value propositions, cost drivers, revenue drivers, and partnership opportunities. These discussions will lead to the collaborative development of a business model.
In the spring 2013 semester, the chemistry students will work with MBA students in the “Marketing Research Strategies” course to test the market for their product. Together they will identify pertinent data needed and the questions to elicit the data.
Each team will receive will receive customized consultant services from outside consultants working with the Venture Greenhouse. This will provide students with the experience of working with outside specialists and understanding their role and value in the commercialization process.
Dominican faculty involved with developing the project are Sibdas Ghosh, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Kenneth Frost, adjunct professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and John Stayton, assistant professor in the School of Business and Leadership and director of the Venture Greenhouse.
The NCIIA supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship in universities to create experiential learning opportunities for students and successful, socially beneficial businesses. Since 1995, it has awarded grants to nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States.
Media contact: Sarah Gardner, 415-485-3239 (office), 415-350-6078 (cell), Sarah.Gardner@Dominican.edu