For Rensselaer Students-Only
Entrepreneurship Education at Rensselaer
As a current student of RPI you have access to many educational resources that can help you explore your interest in entrepreneurship. Rensselaer has a significant curriculum of programs to help you relate to different subject matter and course materials from the perspective of being an entrepreneur. If you are looking to simply engage with other students interested in entrepreneurship to get your juices flowing, stop by the student entrepreneurship club. Are you further along and have a business idea you want to turn into a business? Check out the Foundry-RPI peer mentoring program and the other more advanced entrepreneurship education programs at the Lally School’s Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. If your plan has been developed and you would like to put it to the test, you should also consider participating in one of the Business Plan Competitions sponsored by the Lally School- they’re a lot of fun and great learning experiences.
Taking the Next Steps: Starting a Business
However, if you are at a stage in your student career where you would like to take the next step in your exploration of entrepreneurship by starting a business, you have come to the right place! By registering with the Rensselaer Innovation Hub (RPiHUB) you will have facilitated access to internship opportunities, potential career employment and valuable mentoring, support and access to resources should you decide to start a business now or after you graduate. The RPiHUB staff is dedicated to helping you navigate through the entrepreneurial ecosystem at RPI, and our only interest is to advocate for your success by efficiently and effectively connecting you to the people, places and resources that can help you achieve your goals as an entrepreneur.
What about the Intellectual Property: Will Rensselaer own my idea?
We also know you probably have a lot of questions about Intellectual Property (IP) and what happens if you start a business at Rensselaer as a student. There’s lots of misinformation floating around on Campus regarding student generated IP, so don’t let the rumors and “urban legends” deter you from getting started now with Entrepreneurship. Most of the IP issues people have complained about in the past pre-dated the Institute’s new streamlined IP Policy. The other big misunderstanding is that the Institute does not automatically own your ideas just because you came up with something new as a student. That only occurs if your intellectual property stemmed from a Significant Use of RPI Resources as defined in the Rensselaer Intellectual Property Policy. It is always best to seek our guidance.
What qualifies as a “Significant Use of Rensselaer Resources?”
Now, unless your idea or invention was made as a direct result of research paid for by Rensselaer and/or developed through the use of external funding or other Significant Use of Rensselaer Resources, there is a good chance that you are in the clear and your idea will be yours to keep. You should also know that the entrepreneurial courses, special programs and services offered by the Severino Center, EVE 2.0 Incubation Program, the RPiHUB, etc. are not considered a “Significant Use of Rensselaer Resources” with respect to the ownership of Intellectual Property, meaning, you are in no danger of having Rensselaer claim ownership of your IP. As a student, there are no fees to pay for these services, and there is never any attempt to tap into your equity.
Rensselaer Student Fast-Track IP License Program
If your invention was created with the Significant Use of Rensselaer Resources, you can take advantage of the Institute’s new Fast Track IP license program that is specially geared to students. The Office of Technology Commercialization handles all of the paperwork required to protect the intellectual property and provides you with an exclusive license to it for a small fee of $135.00. Considering the cost of protecting IP in “the real world,” $135.00 is a small price to pay for an exclusive license, because according to the law, an exclusive license is pretty close to ownership. And there’s more good news: as a license-holder, you will have no obligations, such as reports or other fees to RPI unless your intellectual property is successful in generating a million dollars or more in sales annually; if that occurs, then a small royalty of 1% of your net sales (gross sales minus other defined costs) is due Rensselaer. These proceeds are shared amongst the Program that supported the work, the inventors and with Rensselaer as follows: 35% to the inventors; 15% to the Program that supported the work; and, 50% to the Institute for the ongoing support of research and education at RPI. If you are the inventor, you will receive that 35%, or if the patent was co-invented, then the 35% is split amongst the co-inventors.
Disclosing your idea to the OTC protects you in two important ways!
If no Significant Use of Rensselaer Resources was involved, it is still important that you disclose the technology to the Rensselaer OTC – this is for your protection! In most cases, the OTC will probably provide you with a letter that waives the Institute’s ownership rights to your idea back to you. The first and most important way this protects you is that if you decide to commercialize your idea and need money from investors, they will want proof that RPI has no rights to the technology or invention you developed as a student. Not having an official waiver from the Institute could create unnecessary legal complications for you, or worse yet – prevent a timely investment. The second way you benefit from disclosure is that if the Institute does determine that a Significant Use of Rensselaer Resources was involved, and, you opt out of an opportunity to develop and commercialize it yourself, you still have the potential to benefit financially if a successful development and commercialization occurs by others…what a deal!
Remember: We’re here to Help!
In any event, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and assistance with your new venture idea. We’ll be sure to guide you to the right resources – whether it’s figuring out how to proceed with protecting your idea or invention or taking the steps to transform it into a viable business – our only intention is to promote entrepreneurship and to help you become successful.
Exploring Internship Opportunities at the Tech Park and EVE
Or perhaps you’re not ready to start up a business and are just looking for some real world experience. If so, the RPiHUB is the most efficient mechanism to engage with the 65+ companies in the Renssealer Technology Park and with the EVE client companies all over. Once we find out what your area of interest is and what your skill mix looks like, we will work to match you with a local firm looking for interns or other part-time employees. Post graduation, full-time employment opportunities also become available from time-to-time and the Tech Park has a rich history of employing RPI students and graduates. The Tech Park is only 5 miles from Campus in the town of North Greenbush, south of Troy.
Whatever your interest, please reach out to us by clicking on the “Connect Now!” button, and after you fill out and submit a short form online, one of our awesome RPiHUB Team Members will be in touch with you to discuss your interests and how we can help you along on your entrepreneurial journey as an RPI student.