RIT/NTID to explore deaf entrepreneurship

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Richard DeMartino

RIT and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, armed with a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has launched a research initiative designed to explore the current state of deaf entrepreneurship.

RIT’s Deaf Entrepreneurship Research Initiative is a multidisciplinary effort that leverages the strength of its partners across the university. These partners include NTID, which focuses on applied learning and providing a career-focused education for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, the E. Philip Saunders College of Business, which includes faculty who have researched topics related to innovation management and entrepreneurial empowerment, the Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Lab for Social Computing.

“Our research should result in a better understanding of how to empower the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities through programs that encourage entrepreneurial outcomes,” says Richard DeMartino, director of RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and principal investigator of the grant.

Three years ago, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation created a $1.6 million scholarship, including matching federal funds, to support deaf and hard-of-hearing students interested in pursuing careers as entrepreneurs.

The initiative hopes to announce research results by June 2011.