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Three NUvention Courses Deliver Diverse Innovations in Winter 2017

Northwestern’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (FCEI) has been nurturing and supporting student innovations since its inception by creating an environment in which students can develop their ideas into successful businesses.

One of the significant initiatives at FCEI that helps nurture student innovations from concept to delivery is NUvention, a suite of entrepreneurial courses which focus on education and application of entrepreneurial concepts in the areas of Medicine, Energy, Advanced Materials, Analytics, Art, Web + Media, Therapeutics, and Transportation. Many successful startups, from across industry verticals, have come out of the NUvention initiative, including Lilac Solutions and TechCrunch.

NUvention courses are offered as one and two-quarter intensive classroom experiences. Led by visionary faculty and supported by advisory board members who are experts in their specific verticals, each NUvention program organizes students into teams and then exposes these teams to the entire innovation and entrepreneurial life cycle to help them understand how innovations are turned into viable businesses.

This year, several breakthrough innovations came out of NUvention’s Fall/Winter 2017 Energy, Web + Media and Medical courses.

NUvention: Energy

NUvention: Energy responds to the demand for innovation and entrepreneurship in the sustainable energy and clean tech space. These types of innovations are urgently needed to address pressing, worldwide problems including climate change, resource constraint, and other environmental challenges. This course is made possible by a partnership between the Farley Center and the Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN) and is offered through the McCormick School of Engineering. Since NUvention: Energy debuted in Spring 2010, students have created business models involving solar energy, thermoelectric technology and much more. Winter 2017’s NUvention Energy teams presented final projects addressing technological breakthroughs in the clean energy space and beyond. 

NUvention Medical

As the first NUvention course, NUvention: Medical launched FCEI's educational entrepreneurship programs. NUvention: Medical is an interdisciplinary experiential learning program designed to help students develop their ideas into new medical technologies. Student's medical innovations evolve from basic clinical needs, and NUvention is designed to simulate how they become businesses in the real world. This year, NUvention: Medical celebrated 10 years of success on March 8th, 2017 with a presentation and prototype fair event that featured nine student teams. Each team showcased its cutting-edge solution designed to harness efficiency in the medical device marketplace that it worked on during the Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 quarters.

NUvention Web+Media

NUvention: Web + Media is a two-quarter capstone, co-hosted by the Farley Center and Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications, where students from across different Northwestern schools, come together to form teams with diverse skill sets. These teams then work to design, plan, and run web-based businesses over the next six months of the course. Project areas include iPad/Tablet App, Mobile Applications, New Media, Social Gaming, Twitter or Facebook Apps, eCommerce/Deals, Analytics, Cloud, Big Data. Additional ideas from students in the program are also built upon. Past NUvention: Web + Media teams have gone ahead to make PCMag, Rolling Stone, and GigaOM headlines and join incubators; others are bootstrapping and building their businesses to this day.

This year, nine NUvention: Web + Media teams carved out innovations across different verticles in the industry. These teams then presented their midterm pitches on March 7, 2017 in presence of faculty and advisory board members. Following their presentations, the teams participated in question & answer sessions with attending faculty and board members. All nine teams will start off the 2017 Spring quarter with pivot or persist strategies using the valuable feedback they received at their Q&As.

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