SAIC Funds New Entrepreneurial Startup Lab
University of Maryland and local technology entrepreneurs have a new place to explore starting new ventures: the Tech Entrepreneur Research and Prototyping (TERP) Startup Laboratory.
Located in the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) Technology Advancement Program (TAP) building, the university's incubator for high-tech startup companies, the TERP Startup Lab is designed for entrepreneurs who need a place to quickly develop technology prototypes and get some help in starting their companies.
"TERP Startup Lab is the next logical step for students and researchers who have been tinkering in the off hours in a dorm room, an academic lab, or a garage and now need a space dedicated to moving their idea to the prototype or product stage," says Dean Chang, director of Mtech's venture and education programs and director of TAP. "TERP Startup Lab provides entrepreneurs with a real business address, access to prototyping tools and equipment to get a proof-of-concept working, shared meeting rooms and other business office necessities, and perhaps most importantly, an opportunity to connect with and bounce ideas off of other startup lab entrepreneurs at similar early stages for their new ventures."
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) provided $35K in funding for software and equipment for the lab. "Funding TERP Startup Lab further strengthens the relationship SAIC has built with the University of Maryland through Mtech," says John M. Ferriter, Homeland Protection and Preparedness Business Unit Senior Vice President and General Manager for SAIC. "With last Fall's $50K SAIC-VentureAccelerator Competition and the $25K Entrepreneurial Consulting Practicum with the Hinman CEOs Program, TERP Startup Lab becomes the third SAIC-Mtech partnership program aimed at bringing innovative technologies to market, improving national security, and benefitting citizens.
The lab features 700 square feet of furnished space. Participants receive a mailbox, company listing, shared conference rooms, and access to basic hardware and software development tools, including Microsoft BizSpark, a complete suite of all Microsoft development tools and productivity software, for free.
Participants gain the same access to TAP incubator operations staff as TAP companies and benefit from the entrepreneurial community and networking among all TAP, VentureAccelerator, and TERP Startup Lab companies.
Priority for acceptance into the program is given to University of Maryland-based companies, then to those with a strategic benefit or alignment with the university.
Winners of the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition are eligible for one free year at the TERP Startup Lab. Special accommodations are made for students in the Hinman CEOs and Hillman Entrepreneurs programs.
Mtech now offers an entire entrepreneurship ecosystem that begins with education, takes a company to where it can succeed in the marketplace, and then continues with programs to support them. First there is education. Mtech's goal is to infuse technology creators, whether they are engineers, computer scientists, or microbiologists, with a firm grasp of the entrepreneurial process and mindset. To that end, it offers new venture courses for high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, and corporate executives.
Mtech's Hinman CEOs Program, the nation's first living-learning entrepreneurship initiative, brings together talented student entrepreneurs to live together in the same dorm, take a comprehensive series of courses, and explore venture-building. The institute's Hillman Entrepreneurs Program offers entrepreneurial students at Prince George's Community College scholarships, entrepreneurship courses, and the chance to complete a degree at the University of Maryland.
To augment these educational initiatives and bookend each school year, Mtech offers a workshop each fall called the UM Technology Startup Boot Camp, which teaches attendees how to start technology-based companies. Every spring, Mtech hosts the UM $75K Business Plan Competition.
Next there is venture-building. The institute's VentureAccelerator Program offers intensive business planning assistance to university faculty and graduate students starting companies. TAP, the first technology company incubator in Maryland, helps select technology entrepreneurs grow early stage companies into successful ventures. VentureAccelerator and TAP are now also joined by the TERP Startup Lab.
Companies in the commercial space are served by: Mtech's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, which offers R&D funding for joint technology product development with university faculty; the Biotechnology Research and Education Program, which provides bioprocessing services, workforce training, graduate degree programs and consulting for biotechnology companies; and the Maryland Technology Extension Service, which provides critical solutions to help Maryland manufacturers grow and become more competitive.
Interested entrepreneurs can learn more and apply to enter the TERP Startup Lab at: www.startuplab.umd.edu.
June 5, 2009