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The Simone Center’s Student Incubator initiative is an intensive program designed to assist students with a desire to start a business or commercialize their innovations. This initiative differs from other non-RIT university programs in that it is holistic in nature—the program focuses on both product (technology) and business development.
While the Simone Center provides innovation and business development coaches to most students seeking assistance, the Student Incubator program is more intricate and deliberate. Students accepted into the program get weekly coaching by an experienced coach (typically an entrepreneur or a product developer). Simone Center coaches assist students in all dimensions of advancing their business or innovation project including:
- Voice of the Customer: What customer problem is being solved? What are potential customer needs?
- Competitive Analysis: How are you (significantly) better than other options?
- Product Development: What is the path to developing a “proof of concept”? When should a prototype be developed?
- Timelines, Milestones, and Road Maps: What is the path forward for both the product development and the business development
- Team Development and Management: What are the skills required for your team to be successful? Do your teammembers have them? How can you get them?
- Business/Project Funding and Finance: What types and sources of funding are avaialble to successfully advance your project/business?
In conjunction with the Student Incubator Program, students can get access to other RIT resources, such as labs, technical advisors, etc. When sufficiently advanced, students may apply for admission to the RIT Student Incubator in Venture Creations.
The Student Incubator program is team-oriented. Individual students, typically, do not enter the program. High potential projects require high potential teams and the Simone Center will assist lead innovators and entrepreneurs on how to network and/or use the new Team Builder Software to find the right team.
Course or Coop Credit
Student teams are accepted into the Student Incubator Program in several capacities. They may join the program as a non-credit activity, for course credit, or, with the support and approval of the student’s home academic program, co-op credit.
Most students initially enter the program for course credit. They are granted a course credit through the Saunders College’s Applied Entrepreneurship and Commercialization course. Students many also gain course credit to the Center for Multidisciplinary Student’s I-Lab course or, with the approval of their home academic unit, a discipline specific course. All students much gain approval from the Simone Center for these activities.
Students may also gain coop credit for working in the Student Incubator. Coop credit, however, required the support and approval of each student’s home academic unit. If approval is provided, the Student Incubator will serve as the coop employer. Students can only gain one course credit for entering the student incubator. After the initially entry, if the student team has made sufficient progress, they may continue with their coach in a non-credit bearing capacity.
Relationship with the RIT Venture Creations Incubator
The Student Incubator works in partnership with the RIT Venture Creations Incubator (VCI). VCI is a full service technology incubator which provides a range of services to startup companies that have progressed through the proof of concept stage and have met other incubator requirements. VCI charges a nominal fee for these services. The Student Incubator often serves as a feeder into VCI with the most advanced and promising projects considered for admission. Please note, most early stage student projects are too early for VCI. For further information about Venture Creations, visit their website at www.rit.edu/research/vc.