UNLV

How can we help university economic development teams and faculty/student entrepreneurs commercialize their research and successfully take them to market?

University of Nevada Las Vegas Black Fire Innovation HUB

PROJECT TYPE

Product Innovation

CONTEXT

Product Innovation,
Entrepreneurship (in collaboration with Aspire)
UNLV’s Black Fire Innovation Center was looking for new ways to accelerate problem solving innovation and startup formation among faculty.
Think Creative complements the state of the art entrepreneurship training experience delivered by the Aspire online platform with weekly mentoring sessions of the research teams. During an eight week program we help each faculty entrepreneur/startup develop a vision, and walk them through the innovation process from customer discovery to validation of key assumptions and fundraising pitching. As part of the program, faculty went and conducted customer interviews, assessed the potential market size that their proposed solution could reach, and, most importantly, explored routes to market and whether they should build the product themselves, or licence the IP.

Ten new products to take to market were defined and identified as viable through the process. Faculty entrepreneurs were able to identify commercialization opportunities outside of the academic market, define channels to market, develop new business models and engage with the University on the best options for them to develop their business venture further. For most, the next step was to identify the key skills required to develop a team around the new venture and create the business structure. One year after the end of the first cohort, one research team had already transformed their IP into a marketable product and had signed a distribution agreement with a major industry player.