Infusing Entrepreneurship into MakerSpaces: The Business and Entrepreneurship Sector at Work
Leveraging funding from the Strong Workforce Program, the Business and Entrepreneurship Sector proposed statewide Industry Sector Project in Common (ISPIC) funding opportunities for colleges to “Infuse or Integrate Entrepreneurship in Makerspaces.” This will leverage the $17 million the Chancellor’s Office in investing in makerspaces through the CCCMaker project (www.cccmaker.com).
Tapping into this ISPIC funding, the Bay Area Regional Consortium comprised of 28 colleges, voted for a regional joint venture around “Infusing Entrepreneurship into Makerspaces” as the top ranked investment for region. The concept is to build on the intersection of entrepreneurship and making to create makerspaces/incubators/co-working spaces where students can learn and develop both business and technical skills.
This project will enhance student learning, completions and future employment through marrying the practical skills and creative interests of students with the professional coaching and content advising that can help turn a “shop” idea into a prototype and a prototype into a business enterprise. Students in Makerspaces on college campuses will have the opportunity to learn how to take an idea or prototype and turn it into a product for a business. Students will work with business mentors/advisors to prepare a business plan, secure needed financing and develop marketing and sales operations -- all while moving their product along a testing and development path with the support of faculty experts in the subject matter discipline.
Students will be exposed to nationally recognized Entrepreneurship curriculum around soft skills such as the entrepreneurial mindset, design thinking, as well as legal and business concepts such as intellectual property, entity formation and business management concepts. In addition, students will be paired with a business advisor from the college’s partnered SBDC or other technical assistance provider for guidance on how to take a product to market. Finally, students will have access to “Ideator.com,” an online platform that allows Makers to connect with mentors, funders and team members to keep their project moving forward.
Colleges interested in developing programs to integrate entrepreneurship with makerspaces are encouraged to contact their region’s Business and Entrepreneurship Deputy Sector Navigator, who can help develop a proposal to request Strong Workforce Program funding and strategize on how to incorporate additional funding from the ISPIC funding stream.