Promoting entrepreneurship across campus and growing the Western Mass innovation ecosystem have become a focal point for the University. If you’re seeking education, business advice, funding, or lab space, UMass has the resources to support you.
Ventures @ CICS
The Berthiaume Center
The Institute for Applied Life Science
The Maroon Fund
The UMass Fund
UMass Amherst Alumni Association
Other Campus Resources and Contacts
An Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) Can Get You Started.
Every new business starts with an idea. Your idea may be well thought out, or it may be a flash of inspiration! And, like most university people, you may have little or no experience in business. The UMass Amherst EIR Program was created to provide you and others with a welcoming starting point for exploring business ideas, and to provide knowledgeable guidance on how to turn those business ideas into new companies.
The UMass Amherst EIRs are volunteers that have deep experience in the business world. They have created and developed new products, and have started and built new companies. Each EIR has experience in one or more specific product fields, but their business expertise is relevant in all fields. They have office hours on campus so that anyone in the UMass Amherst community, including undergraduate students, grad students, postdocs and faculty, can easily get confidential information and advice on the potential value of their business ideas and how to pursue them, no matter how undeveloped those ideas may be.
Please call Maryanne Laukaitis at the UMass Amherst Technology Transfer Office, 413-577-2126, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can email this form to Maryanne, EIR Sign-up Form, and she will contact you to set up the first meeting.
Meet the EIRs
Eric Crawley is well-qualified for his position as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. He holds a B.A. degree in Systems Science and an M.S. in Engineering Management and over the last three decades has worked for Rockwell International, Wang Laboratories, Symbolics, Ford Motor Company, Wellfleet Communications, Bay Networks, Juniper Networks, Funk Software, BigBand Networks, Akamai Technologies, and a variety of startups. But his labor of love was always startups. “I’ve always felt it was a whole lot of fun to take a brand new startup company and build it into a going venture.” As Crawley readily suggests, “Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Only a few people are qualified and able at it. But even those who fit the bill need a lot of support. Nobody starts a company by himself or herself. Networking is a big key. They come to me to find out if entrepreneurship is something they really want to do and if their ideas are worthwhile."
Translating new computer information and science knowledge into new ventures
Ventures @ CICS provides information, advice, and support to anyone in the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) community interested in exploring the commercial value of new technologies emerging from our research labs and class projects. The program is aimed at early stage concept development -- helping scientists and engineers move ideas from proof-of-concept towards marketable products with societal benefit.
At the heart of the Ventures @ CICS initiative is our Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) Program. EIRs are volunteers from the private sector -- each one brings expertise in multiple areas of computer & information science, a track record of business-development success, a passion for commercialization, and a commitment to UMass Amherst and CICS.
The Berthiaume Center Can Teach and Inspire You.
The Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, located at the Isenberg School of Management, teaches undergraduate and graduate school courses on entrepreneurship. It also sponsors the Innovation Challenge, the HackUMass Hackathon, and other events to encourage and support entrepreneurs. You can learn more at their website: Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Institute for Applied Life Science (IALS) Can Lease You Lab Space.
As part of its focus on applied research, the Institute for Applied Life Science (IALS) has created two “co-laboratories” where, for a modest monthly fee, start-up companies can rent 6 feet of bench space in a shared lab, which includes use of a fume hood and conference rooms. The IALS labs are newly constructed in 2016. Although IALS research is focused on life science, rental lab space may also be available for companies in other fields. IALS also provides start-up companies with access to 30 core research centers: microscopy, MRI, calorimetry, DNA sequencing, and many others. To learn more, visit their website, or contact Andrew Vinard, 413-577-4582, email@example.com.
Collaborate, build, explore, learn, prototype.
M5: ECE Makerspace
M5 is a 5,000 sq. ft. academic makerspace. It is an open learning environment whose mission is to enable ECE undergraduate and graduate students to advance their technical interests through experimentation, exploration, social interaction and entrepreneurship.
MIE Innovation Makerspace
The MIE Innovation Makerspace exists to encourage learning and build an appreciation for engineering principles through both academic and personal projects.
The Maroon Fund May Be Willing to Fund Your Company.
Maroon Venture Partners Fund I, LP is a for-profit venture fund that invests in early stage companies linked to UMass Amherst. It typically invests $50,000 to $200,000, and it often provides a new company’s first outside equity funding. It looks for companies that can use its funds to accomplish significant milestones toward commercial success. The fund’s broader goal is to foster the growing spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the UMass Amherst community. You can learn more and apply here: Maroonventurepartners.com
As Your Technology Company Grows, the UMass Fund May Be Willing to Invest.
The UMass Fund invests in new companies based on inventions or software made in the course of UMass research. It is managed by the Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) in the Office of the President. Investments can be made solely, or together with investments by a qualified venture capital firm or angel investor. Investments are limited to $500,000, and are usually made in several installments based on the company reaching incremental product development goals. More information can be found here: UMass Fund.
The Alumni Association Can Connect You to their Networks.
The UMass Amherst Alumni Association’s mission is to provide guidance, promote financial and volunteer support, and amplify the positive effects of the institution amongst the public and the legislature. To this end, the Alumni Association has several networks relevant to entrepreneurs, including Innovators Alumni Network, Life Sciences Alumni Network, and Boston Regional Network. More information may be found here.
Technology Transfer Office – IP advice, options and licenses for patents, copyrights.
Maryanne Laukaitis, 413-545-3606, firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Media Lab - Green room, sound rooms, AV equipment loans, 3D printing.
3rd Floor, DuBois Library, 413-545-6258, email@example.com
Patent Deposit Library – patent search strategies, patent search assistance.
Paulina Borrego, 413-545-7891, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of Research Compliance – Conflict of interest management, human subjects, animal subjects, export control.
Melinda LeLacheur, 413-545-5283, email@example.com
Office of Research Development – Advice and assistance with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications.
Michelle Wonsey, 413-577-3726, firstname.lastname@example.org
UMass Innovation Institute – Assistance for company to sponsor research at UMass; referrals to landlords of off-campus office and lab space.
Michelle Wonsey, 413-577-8644, email@example.com