In a University setting, research, creativity and inspiration drive the engine of innovation. However, the internal “Grand Challenge” is how do we most efficiently and effectively commercialize new ideas and new inventions? Like many technological research institutions, Rensselaer has no shortage of capacity or capabilities to produce new intellectual property, but the barrier to commercialization – getting inventions into the marketplace – is in many cases a function of systematically connecting the champions of those ideas with the appropriate internal and external resources needed to transform inventions into commercially successful innovations. Prior to the deployment of the RPiHUB, no such comprehensive system of connecting entrepreneurs with resources across the continuum of both internal and external support services was in use at Rensselaer.
In an effort to create a more sustainable and efficient process for transforming intellectual property into viable businesses, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed the RPiHUB. The RPiHUB is a web-based system and process for helping campus and community entrepreneurs connect to the right people, places, programs and funding needed to help their business ventures grow from concept to commercial viability. This HUB is composed of 4 main portals, which are in essence “intelligent” gateways to resources that are specifically organized to assist entrepreneurs with working ON their businesses while simultaneously working in them. This “intelligence” is built into the structure of the system, which enables entrepreneurs and business owners to rapidly identify resources based on their need and stage of growth. This system intelligence is supported by a series of interactive tools that connect seekers with RPiHUB personnel who can assist them with getting the help or resources they need.
How it Works
The RPiHUB is organized as central HUB, symbolic of Rensselaer’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The central HUB is fed by four PORTALS: 1) EVE 2.0 Clients, 2) Tech Park Tenants, 3) Campus Resources, and 4) Community Resources. The process of Commercialization begins when an faculty, student, alumni or community entrepreneur is accepted into the EVE 2.0 business incubation program as a client. The Tech Park is for park tenants only: more mature businesses with the potential for engaging campus researchers and creating valuable student internship opportunities. The two remaining portals are used to provide EVE 2.0 Clients and Tech Park tenants with facilitated access to the appropriate campus and community entrepreneur and business assistance support services.
The mission of the Rensselaer Innovation Hub (RPiHUB) is to establish and facilitate better linkages for communication and collaboration between academia, entrepreneurs and industry innovators affiliated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The genesis of this effort has it’s roots in Rensselaer’s Technology Park and Business Incubation Programs. Both initiatives rank as “firsts” in University technology-driven economic development, with the Incubation Program founded in 1980, and the Tech Park shortly after in 1981.
In 2011 the Rensselaer business incubation program was re-launched as a distributed incubation program focusing on the process of developing new technology ventures instead of merely “warehousing” client companies. Reformulated as the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem, the new business incubation program formalizes the business development process by assessing client company needs and establishing a flexible, but structured program for navigating entrepreneurs through the resources and programs at Rensselaer as well as with external partners and support organizations.
In 2012, Rensselaer consolidated the incubation program (EVE 2.0) with the Tech Park by creating the Real Estate and Business Development portfolio. This new department leverages the common synergies of the Tech Park and EVE. The Rensselaer Innovation HUB (RPiHUB) assures connectivity, communication and consistency in the delivery of services to EVE clients and Tech Park Tenants while facilitating opportunities for student, faculty and RPI Alumni engagements.