New Engineering Program Aims to Attract the Most Talented Entrepreneurs to Connecticut

Woman and man brainstorming start-up ideas. (Getty Images)
UConn is launching a new Master’s of Engineering in Global Entrepreneurship, the first entrepreneurial graduate degree in the state that is focused on engineering. (Getty Images)

In a push to attract highly talented entrepreneurs from around the world to the state of Connecticut, UConn is launching a new Master’s of Engineering in Global Entrepreneurship, the first engineering-focused entrepreneurial graduate degree in the state.

The new master’s degree program, a partnership between the UConn Schools of Engineering and Business, Trinity College, and the University of New Haven, is intended to create a nurturing ecosystem for a profession that sees 90 percent of start-ups fold. It will enable novice entrepreneurs to learn best practices, receive mentorship from veteran entrepreneurs, and be set up for success.

“This program, and its related initiatives, will be a major step towards bringing in the best and the brightest from all over the world, giving them the tools they need, and turning them into major entrepreneurial advocates for the state of Connecticut,” says associate dean of engineering Mei Wei. “If we can bring them in early, train them, and open up doors toward commercialization, then we can literally help create start-ups from scratch, and help them to grow roots in this state.”

The program, which is fully funded, will recruit individuals from all over the world who are in the early stages of developing start-ups, or who have shown an impressive penchant for entrepreneurship, to apply to the program. Accepted students will receive full tuition remission, a yearly stipend, and significant other resources to help them commercialize their ventures.

Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the School of Engineering, says it is essential to spread the net wide when recruiting in order to bring in the most talented students, regardless of their state or country of origin, in the same way student-athletes are recruited. “We have to search nationally and internationally to assemble the best possible collection of talent,” he says, “setting us up for sustained success in entrepreneurship.”

John Elliott, dean of the School of Business, says that creating more entrepreneurial programs in a wider variety of academic concentrations will have a significant impact on Connecticut’s economic future.

“At the School of Business, we have a tremendous opportunity to help other entrepreneurs, in the sciences, engineering, medicine, and other specialties, to develop the business knowledge and meet the mentors and advisers who can help them take a great idea and bring it to the marketplace.

“This is a pivotal juncture for our students and faculty,” he adds. “We are charting a powerful course that will ultimately impact our entire state and beyond.”

Support for this program comes from CTNext, with a funding match from UConn’s Schools of Engineering and Business, Trinity College, and the University of New Haven. The program is being co-led by David Noble, professor-in-residence in management, director of the Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and co-director of the UConn Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium; Hadi Bozorgmanesh, professor of practice in engineering entrepreneurship and co-director of the UConn Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium; Sonia Cardenas, dean of academic affairs and strategic initiatives at Trinity College; and Ron Harichandran, dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering at the University of New Haven.

In the next couple of months, UConn and its partner institutions will work toward developing the curriculum, establishing an advisory board, creating a virtual inter-institutional platform, and will start recruiting for the first cohort of students. For more information on program, contact Wei at mei.wei@uconn.edu.