Faculty Spotlight: Aileen Huang-Saad

aileen huang-saad

University of Michigan Educator Aileen Huang-Saad Today, we debut a new series of conversations with entrepreneurship educators. Each month we will feature an individual within the VentureWell network who is creating positive impact in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and talk about what drives their work. This month’s faculty spotlight is Aileen Huang-Saad, Associate Professor of […]


Did ABET Move Our Cheese?


There I was at the VentureWell conference, a bastion of innovation and entrepreneurship, discussing ABET (, the four-letter word that seems to deflate any conversation among engineering educators. We were discussing the proposed changes to ABET that have recently caused quite a stir. The conversation began with widespread discontent with the changes. Many of the […]


The Challenge of Hardware Startups

hardware startups

Inventors and entrepreneurs working on hardware solutions aimed at those living in poverty—hardware pioneers—need early and sustained philanthropic support in order to bring their ideas to fruition. This is Part One in a two-part series that highlights the particular challenges faced by hardware pioneers and the ways they can be overcome. … Founding any new […]


Lessons from 20 Years of Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship


Birthdays are a good time to celebrate accomplishments and reflect on what you’ve learned. This year as VentureWell turns 20 years old, we’re celebrating work with hundreds of universities and thousands of faculty and students to strengthen invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education in the US. We’ve learned many valuable lessons, through both success and setbacks, […]


How an Entrepreneurial Mindset Can Make Research More Effective: Reflections from an I-Corps alumnus


Colorado State University professor and Growcentia co-founder Matt Wallenstein recently wrote in-depth about his experience in the I-Corps™ program for Science Magazine. I-Corps™ was transformative for Matt, taking him from academic researcher to successful entrepreneur (and back again to higher ed) using the I-Corps™ method: a rigorous process of looking for the commercial value in […]


21 teams, over $200k in grants. Spring E-Team grant awardees announced!

VentureWell Open, Portland, Oregon, March 3, 4, 5, 2016.

The spring 2016 cohort of E-Teams are meeting in Cambridge this April for intensive workshops to help them bring their innovations to market. Congratulations to the awardees!  


Here’s Why We’re Optimistic About the Future of the World’s Water

dayone response

There is no shortage of water challenges to overcome worldwide, from the 663 million people who lack access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services all the way to contaminated municipal water in Flint, MI. No resource is more important—and will become ever more so as global population grows and the climate changes. One might […]


Previewing our 20th Annual Conference: 80+ sessions, 450+ attendees. Here’s what’s happening at Open 2016


In just a few short weeks, over 450 people will gather together for Open 2016, a conference focused around new ways of teaching/facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. This year’s conference—our 20th!—will be taking place March 4-5 at the Downtown Marriott in Portland, OR. Open 2016 will feature more than 80 sessions for learning, connecting, and […]


5 Trends That Will Shape Entrepreneurship Education in 2016


Entrepreneurship education is starting to steal the limelight in the US. Students want it—about four in ten students want to start their own businesses, according to a poll released in January by Gallup—and schools want to deliver it. The number of colleges and universities that offer courses related to entrepreneurship has grown from a handful […]


E-Team grant awardees announced!

e-team training

Our recent grants totaling over $200K are helping teams of science & technology entrepreneurs bring their high-impact inventions to market. This cohort of E-Teams kicked off 2016 with our intensive workshops to help them bring their innovations to market. We’re looking forward to great things!  


The VentureWell List: 2015


2015 has been a successful year at VentureWell, focused on implementing new programs to support science and technology innovators and growing our organization. We engaged nearly 1,800 participants in our programs and events. We worked with over 500 I-Corps teams. We awarded 42 Faculty Grants. We awarded 47 Stage 1 and 20 Stage 2 E-Team […]


14 Higher Education Teams Selected For Pathways To Innovation Program


Fourteen teams of faculty and administrators from U.S. colleges and universities have been selected by the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) to join the Pathways to Innovation Program. The Pathways to Innovation Program is designed to help institutions fully incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate engineering education. The program is run […]


E-Team NeoVent offers advice to other student entrepreneurs


Stephen John enjoyed a remarkable childhood: he grew up in Nepal, the son of a physician and an engineer who worked in a mission hospital. He’s now following in his parents’ footsteps at the University of Michigan, devoting his career to bringing high-quality, low-cost medical care to people in low-resource settings. He’s already made plenty […]


Xcelerator Workshop Insights: Unexpected Pathways to Breakthrough Solutions


The Xcelerator program facilitates breakthrough problem solving that has substantial implications for the creation of global innovations. Xcelerator achieves this goal through the transfer of ideas among innovation experts and participant teams. “The real shift came at the beginning of Day 2 when they challenged us to think differently,” explained Dr. Raffi Aroian, who leads […]


The Act of Doing is the Art of Learning: Lessons from an Xcelerator Workshop


VentureWell’s Xcelerator Training Program provides strategic planning tools for participants to work with through structured guidance over the course of three days. More often than not, participants find additional applications for the tools they begin to use at Xcelerator beyond marketing their current innovation. For Dr. Amy Webb-Girard, Xcelerator transformed her vision of the knowledge her students […]


“Inspired by what we learned at Xcelerator”: Strategic Tools for Institutional Transformation

KEL GN Trust Structure2

  Growing Nations is a non-profit organization based in Lesotho that trains and provides resources to local farmers in conservation agriculture. The organization has been challenged to make conservation agriculture more accessible and less labor intensive for women farmers, who play integral roles in farming and must often support their families in the absence of […]


So you want to offer a pop-up class?


What are pop-up classes and how can you get your own up and running? Professor Joseph Tranquillo from Bucknell University and Epicenter’s Victoria Matthew share key questions to get you started. There’s a new activity we keep hearing about on campuses across the country: pop-up classes. What exactly are they? And how can you get […]


Do-Think-Make: Engaging in Design Thinking & Creativity at Texas Tech


The Texas Tech University Innovation Fellows, composed of Marshall Head, Victoria Young, Valente Rodriguez, Taylor Persons, Francis Atore and Benjamin Simmons, were able to host an innovative thinking event on their university campus called Do-Think-Make. This event was similar to the activities at the recent University Innovation Fellows 2015 Annual Meetup, and it was captured […]


Moving university sanitation research into the business world with Xcelerator

Malawi 1-2015-3

There is an ongoing sanitation crisis in the developing world. Inadequate sewage disposal and overflowing latrines are a serious public health concern across the globe. Dr. Francis de los Reyes hopes to solve this problem through his innovation: a machine that can empty septic tanks. De los Reyes leads a team that has developed the […]


How to grow your institution’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem


As you may have guessed, according to these educators the “secret sauce” perfect solution doesn’t exist. Every school is unique; a technique that may be successful at one school may not be as effective at another. However, the group did identify nine key things everyone can do to help spread I&E on your campus: Identify […]


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