3 Ways a University Can Help Your Startup

Date: September 15, 2014

Learning centers for small business owners provide access to valuable resources and information

Chicago-based ProofX CEO Dima Elissa has a history
of launching technology and staffing businesses. No matter the location, she
says, entrepreneurship centers at local universities, academies and technology
centers play an important part in getting new businesses off the ground. “The
talent can be astounding, from my experience,” she says. “They have the latest
and greatest access to technology and information.”

Here are three of their biggest benefits for

1. Top-tier interns

College internship programs provide startups with
talent “that is like a diamond in the rough before anybody else gets exposed to
them,” says Elissa. ProofX, which focuses on 3-D biomedical printing and
prototyping, recently enlisted summer interns through Duke University and the
Coleman Entrepreneurship Center at DePaul University in Chicago.

At no cost to the company, the Coleman intern
arrived trained in marketing tactics and prepared to conduct surveys to assess
the readiness of local hospitals and physicians groups for 3-D printing.

2. Access to research

Universities are hotbeds of research with tools to
address challenges that startups can’t afford. For ProofX, another advantage of
working with a university was that it gained access to advanced levels of
market information through databases and online resources—normally very
expensive tools.

3. Product development

When Peggy Andrews launched her first candy company,
Dosha Pops, last year in New York City, she needed help. “The cost of building
or renting a private commercial kitchen is too expensive for a small food
business,” she says.

Andrews found her solution in Union Food Lab, a
kitchen incubator at nearby Union Theological Seminary. She began renting
kitchen and storage space; within months, she was moving product and recouping
the rental fees. Her connection provides her many other benefits, including
product showcasing events, recipe development and licensing assistance.

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