Do You Think Like An Entrepreneur?  Thinking like an entrepreneur isn't limited to only people who create their own Silicon Valley startup. Being entrepreneurial is a state of mind.  For engineers, it means not just focusing on the technology we love, but finding out how to harness the power of that technology to solve real problems for real people - to imaginatively identify new opportunities to create value - and to do it in a way that is financially and logistically sustainable.  Whether you want to work for a large company, as part of a social enterprise, or even in a start-up, being entrepreneurial is critical to helping your organization prosper and serve the world.  Join us in developing our entrepreneurial capabilities - we have a wide range of opportunities for you, from programs and courses to project-based opportunities to extra-curricular activities.

Win Up To $1,000!!! Enter the new Spring Quarter Innovation/Entrepreneurship  Competition!  

Your challenge is to develop a mission patch for the NASA SporeSat satellite, which will be launched on April 14 on a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral.  SporeSat is an autonomous free-flying 3U CubeSat that will conduct a scientific experiment to gain a deeper knowledge of the mechanisms of plant cell gravity sensing. Your mission patch design must be market and commemorate the SporeSat mission on par with NASA's tradition of mission patches.  

SCU Competition- An SCU-specific version of this contest is being run for SCU students with a prize of $100/student on the winning team.  Details of this competition are available HERE.  The SCU winner(s) will be entered into the KEEN competition.


KEEN Competition- This competition is also being conducted with students from universities in the KEEN (Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network) program.  Student teams from KEEN schools will submit their entries for judging as part of a network-wide competition.  Details of this competition are available HEREA prize of $500 (or equivalent) will be awarded to the winning KEEN team.  The winning entry of this competition will be considered for use as the UNOFFICIAL mission patch by the NASA SporeSat team, earning a place on the SCU mission operations Dashboard web site.   

Competition Announcements, Clarifications, and Q&A are posted here - check back often!


Small Satellite Industry Spring Theme - This Spring, most of our extra-curricular events will celebrate the growing small satellite industry.  In addition to our SporeSat Mission Patch Challenge, there will be a tour of NASA Ames Research Center (to include a small satellite company tour) and a Lunch with an Entrepreneur event that features engineers from a new local small satellite start-up.  Our quarterly mentoring reception will be held at the SCU/RSL lab in the NASA Research Park and will include numerous industry mentors from the small satellite industry.


Spring Quarter Courses and Events

This Spring, we are offering several courses specifically designed to feature knowledge and skills to develop your entrepreneurial mindset:

  • ENGR 173 - Introduction to Business Fundamentals (1-unit): Learn the basics of business operations from an engineer with 40 years of industry experience, to include having been a CEO for several companies here in Silicon Valley.
  • ENGR 174 - Introduction to Financial Reporting and Decision Making (1-unit): Understand financial statements and how are analyzed to asses enterprise performance.  Test your ability to manage and leverage capital markets in an exciting business simulation.
  • ENGR 175 - Introduction to Business Models (1 unit): Learn about the Business Model Canvas, a framework for describing and organizing the operational elements of a business or a social enterprise.  Topics include identifying customers and market segments, stating your value proposition, and understanding cash flow.
  • ENGR 177: Globalization and the Culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (4-units; Core Curriculum C&I III course): This course introduces skills, practices and processes for understanding and managing innovation/entrepreneurship activities that span cultures throughout the world.

Extra-curricular events for the Spring Quarter center around the emerging small satellite industry.  Events include:

  • April 8:  Small Satellite Technology Lunch Seminar
  • April 8: Quarterly innovation/entrepreneurship challenge kickoff
  • April 18: Tour of NASA Ames/small satellite company
  • April 22: Lunch with an Entrepreneur
  • May 1 (tentative): Student Mentoring Reception at NASA Ames
Congratulations to Recent Winners

Maker Spirit Challenge - Students were challenged to conceive, design, make, market and sell low-cost items that promote SCU school spirit.  Teams produced 25 units of their item using the School's Maker Lab and sold them in the campus bookstore.  Congratulations to the winners, who created a balsa glider commemorating SCU's own John Montgomery and his historic glider research, resulting in the first sustained (unpowered) flights of aircraft.  Honorable mentions went to teams that created an SCU-themed iPhone case and drink coasters with the SCU logo.

NIKE+ Storyboard Competition - Congratulations to Team Safetracks, the $1,500 grand prize winner in the Fall Quarter Nike+ Sport Sensor Storyboard competition.  The team's concept involved monitoring skiers and automatically calling for help after a fall if the skier is then unresponsive.  A $250 Honorable Mention prize was awarded to a second group that proposed to integrate the sensors into a headband that would monitor athletes for concussions.  More than 80 students in 19 teams entered the competition; 11 teams with more than 50 students ultimately wound up submitting a video.  

Maker Lab Training: Join the more than 250 students, staff and faculty who have been trained to use the Maker Lab.  Information on the lab, equipment and training can be found HERE.
-----   Getting Involved    -----
Interested in engineering innovation and entrepreneurship? There are many ways you can get involved with SCU's new opportunities for engineers interested in this area.

Join the Club - Join the Santa Clara Entrepreneurs Organization (SCEO), a student club focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. [website]

Get a Mentor - Join us at our next mentoring reception to meet and network with practicing engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. The first event for the new academic year will be held in November - Check back here for information and timing once the schedule is set.. 

Enter a Competition - Several student-based competitions in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship are held each year, and others are available to join throughout the Silicon Valley. [information]

Attend a Seminar - Seminars are held throughout the campus with speakers on the forefront of technology innovation, Silicon Valley startups, and technology corporations. 

Take a Class - Expand your horizons by taking a class to hone your business acumen, learn product design techniques, or engineer community based projects. 

Select the Pathway - The Design Thinking Pathway is dedicated to the concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Stay tuned for more information on a new Certificate Program that is under development.

The Design Thinking Pathway - The Most Popular Pathway on Campus! Looking for a Core Curriculum Pathway? Consider taking the Design Thinking Pathway, which focuses on on a) technical innovation, b) design processes that allow innovation to be incorporated into products/services/systems that solve a customer need, c) enterprise strategies for harnessing the value and ensuring the sustainability of innovative products, and d) social aspects regarding the value and impact of innovation on the world.  Contact Dr. Ruth Davis or Dr. Kitts for additional information.
Joint KEEN Projects - As part of a new initiative with collaborating universities in the KEEN network, SCU students are now working with students in collaborating universities that are part of the KEEN network, developing exciting, real world engineering systems and operating them in entrepreneurial ways.  This model of education was recently highlighted by the National Academy of Engineering. 

Consider joining this effort effort.  Ongoing projects include the professional operation of NASA and industry spacecraft and the development of professional field-grade marine robotic systems.  A new effort involving UAVs/drones is starting up now.

Collaborating institutions include St. Louis University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Union College, Bucknell University, Ohio Northern University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Baylor University, Mercer University, and other universities across the country.  

To get involved, contact Dr. Kitts.

KEEN - Many of our Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiatives are supported through our involvement with  KEEN - Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network.  
KEEN concentrates on curricular enhancements to the undergraduate educational program and on co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that foster the spirit of innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset within the School and across our campus. KEEN is sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation and includes partner universities across the country.