To address the challenges that COVID-19 has created for the Center for Entrepreneurship’s community, the team at the CFE has adapted several programs and initiatives to help move the entrepreneurial spirit forward. 

Here are some updates on what we are working on to help our students, faculty, staff and partners adapt. 

ALUMNI/EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT

  • The CFE is asking alumni to complete this brief survey (<2 minutes) to help us gain insight on your pressing needs and enable the coordination of our network/resources to help niche ‘pain-points’
  • The team is also preparing the launch of a platform to interconnect our student, faculty, and alumni needs for mentorship; updates about this rapid-response project will be sent in the coming weeks. 
  • This expanding list of COVID-19 startup resources and jobs has been shared. 
  • Team members have been collaborating with alumni relations partners across the University to pool resources for supporting alumni-affiliated early-stage startups.

EDUCATION

  • CFE’s Educational Programs, ENTR faculty and CFE’s student-facing staff have pivoted to new modalities to serve the remote curricular experience. ENTR course assignments were meaningfully modified to reflect the reality of global pandemic:  flipped classrooms, pre-recorded mini lectures and voice overs on slide decks, utilization of U-M’s three video conference platforms and leaning into unique features of U-M’s course Canvas sites were adaptive methods.
  • Educational Programs Staff led IA/PA staff in anticipating and surveying faculty needs. They devoted time/training to ENTR classes beyond the ones they’re paired with.  Extra assistance to rubric based assessment and/or remote group/project work mentoring was demonstrated. From course content to workshops to advising, students and instructors have benefitted from dedicated collaborations. 
  • Brandon McNaughton’s ENTR 411 Practicum culminating assignment was pivoted to: Imagine that ​you and your team own a business and this global pandemic occurs.  You can no longer run your business the way you were before; in some cases, you may have to go completely digital with it. ​ ​Adapt your business to survive to the current situation: see if you can find a way to generate revenue or get close to it; possibly change your business idea to provide products or services that serve the current market under pandemic conditions.
  • ENTR 390 Entrepreneurial Design Lab also pivoted: All students were added to CAEN’s remote software access list to access class software on Mac or PC via a downloaded client or web browser. Lab instructors (Virtual Reality, 3D Printing and Prototyping, Hardware, Coding, and IoT) extended current deadlines for deliverables to accommodate students moving back home. Design, experiential discussion, student consultations and proof of concepts critiques in support of robust final presentations are continued in online formats.
  • Looking ahead, ENTR 411 Practicum will be offered during the Spring 2020 semester and ENTR 407 Entrepreneurship Hour will be offered both Spring and Summer semesters. The CFE is offering these popular CFE classes as a bridge to stay connected to students during these unprecedented times. For U-M students who use the Center’s international experiences over the summer, it also offsets a lost practicum opportunity.

FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS (ELP, TechLab, TechArb)

  • CFE Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Practice Nick Moroz is working with ELP Co-Instructor Nick Cucinelli, Wilson Center Director Chris Gordon, Wilson Center Manager Nick Julius, Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Herek Clack, and NERS Associate Research Scientist Victor Petrov and the College of Engineering Rapid Response Team on N95 sterilization techniques in collaboration with Michigan Medicine to investigate and experiment with ozone gas as a means to sterilize PPE with high volume scalability.
  • ELP Co-Instructor and Founder of Warmilu Grace Hsia is developing an EMT patient gurney cover prototype for the US Air Force.
  • The CFE’s Fellowship team, Nick Moroz and Programs Specialist Emilee Studley, with support from the CFE’s External Engagement team, Director Eric Bacyinski and Assistant Director Jason Davis, are helping secure partnerships with nonprofits and startups to provide students with remote internships as many students have lost internship offers due to the pandemic.

VENTURE CREATION

  • I-Corps, the nation’s largest Innovation Accelerator didn’t miss a beat and has now shifted to an all-virtual format.  

MICHIGAN BIOMEDICAL VENTURE FUND

  • The Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund has continued to support current portfolio companies in a variety of ways including checking in with CEOs to assess needs, providing up to date resources and information related to Federal, State, and Local small business relief programs, and actively monitoring the VC industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • MBVF has also taken an active role in assisting U-M faculty with innovations related to COVID-19 by helping to find solutions for how to best move their project forward to have an immediate impact in the clinic.
  • The team continues to engage with the local startup and investment community, as collectively we assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the local economy and strategize around solutions and best practices for startups to employ to ensure they emerge well-positioned for future growth.
  • MBVF continues to work closely with the CFE’s ELP fellowship program to find internships and experiential opportunities for the students with portfolio companies. 

For more information about any of the CFE’s updated resources visit the Center’s website or contact one of our team members directly.

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