3 SPEC Kit 355: Campus-wide Entrepreneurship
Campus-wide Focus on Entrepreneurship
Of the 60 responding libraries, 50 (83%) indicated that their institution has identified expanding
innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities and support throughout the university as a strategic
priority. Commitments range from the simple “…promoting the development of intellectual property and
the promotion of economic development,” to more ambitious endeavors that aim to “…institutionalize
the conditions for innovation…,” or envision “…supporting partnerships and translating research into
action….” Goals include increasing research commercialization, technology transfer and licensing,
public-private partnerships, and growing the number of start-ups arising from their institutions. These
institutions want to work with the business community both locally and globally to create opportunities
for student internships and alumni employment, develop collaborative spaces, and access equipment to
help develop ideas. They want to create the right environment and conditions for innovation, supported
by access to experts, grants, and seed funding. Supporting entrepreneurship programs aimed at specific
populations, such as women and veterans, is another important goal for some institutions.
The institutions that are developing and growing their support of entrepreneurship across the
campus see it as an investment in their organization. Strong entrepreneurship programs are seen as
important for attracting students, faculty, and staff. They are offering university-wide entrepreneurship
minors, and providing incentives for faculty to participate as student mentors for projects that translate
research discoveries into applications. They see entrepreneurship activities as “translational learning
opportunities.” There are benefits to be gained as well by serving the community and public good, and
attracting external partnerships.
Library’s Support for Entrepreneurship Activities
The overwhelming majority of responding libraries (45 or 82%) are providing support and/or services
to campus entrepreneurship activities on an ongoing basis. This support takes many different forms.
Most often, services are provided by the business librarian and involves support for entrepreneurship
course curriculum in the form of classroom instruction, instructional materials (such as handouts, subject
guides, and tutorials), and research consultations. Support is also provided via makerspaces and their
associated technologies, either through financial support of these spaces and programs or through staff
expertise. At Syracuse University, Blackstone LaunchPad, their innovation and entrepreneurship resource
center founded in 2016 and supported by seed funding grants from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation,
is located within the Bird Library.
Organization of Entrepreneurship Activities
At the responding institutions, the coordination of entrepreneurship activities on campus is fairly
evenly split among separate entrepreneurship centers in different faculties/schools (29%), various
stakeholders that loosely coordinate activities (21%), and other structures (24%). Many comments
regarding the coordination of efforts on campus suggested that in actual fact, coordination is lacking.
As one respondent commented, “The various entrepreneurial entities and stakeholders are certainly
aware of one another, but basically it’s a free-for-all.” Even compiling a list of all of the programs and
activities that support entrepreneurship on campus is elusive. Most often, entrepreneurship centers,
programs, and activities originate from within the business school. Engineering faculties are also leaders
on campus of entrepreneurship opportunities, and partnerships with the business schools are common.
Often times there are partnerships between the faculties and the institution’s technology transfer or
commercialization offices. Law schools were mentioned as also providing programs and support in the
areas of intellectual property and business law. Medicine and biotechnology have traditionally been
strong areas for commercialization activities. Newer entrants into entrepreneurship and start-up area
include information schools, architecture, music, and social sciences faculties, and libraries. In libraries
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