Major and pre-major students in BS CSE, BS CIS, and BS ECE (Computer option) programs with interests in entrepreneurship will be recruited into the program. In addition to satisfying the requirements of their respective majors, NEWPATH students will complete the entrepreneurship minor; complete two internships in carefully selected IT companies; complete the culminating e-practicum in which they will take an idea from concept to the brink of commercialization; and, in the case of the most promising cases, especially the ones that attract interest of potential investors when the business cases are presented to them as part of the e-practicum, to create and run the startups.
Internships, especially in IT startups, is an important component of NEWPATH. TechColumbus' staff members will help place students in appropriate internship positions and will play a key role in assessing and guiding student teams in the e-practicum. Most importantly, TechColumbus will actively assist student teams in setting up and running the startups. Since startups may be strapped for cash, NSF-NEWPATH funds may be used, in such cases, to supplement or provide part of the salaries for students during their internship periods. Students who take up such internships, especially those whose internships are supported by NEWPATH funds, will be required to make a presentation, in the weekly seminar (see below) during the following quarter, about their internship experience. Internship supervisors of NEWPATH students whose internship was supported by NEWPATH funds will also be invited to make presentations in the weekly seminar; these presentations may be about their particular companies or may be on topics of general interest related to IT-entrepreneurship.
A key part of the program is the weekly seminar. All NEWPATH students are expected to register for and regularly attend the 1-credit hour NEWPATH weekly seminar every quarter (except Summer). The intent of the seminar is to provide a forum in which students can learn from each other and from NEWPATH faculty members, can brainstorm ideas that may serve as the basis for startups, can hear from other students about their internship and e-practicum experiences, can engage in case-studies of successful and unsuccessful IT startups to identify best (and not so good) practices, and can hear from CEOs and other senior people from local IT startups.
In addition, students, either individually or in teams of two or three, are encouraged to pursue individual research where they explore, in depth, some aspect of entrepreneurship such as effective approaches to identifying market opportunities, or to obtaining venture capital, or even exploring specific items of recent technology developments that may present entrepreneurial opportunities. Students pursuing such research will be eligible for scholarship support of up to $500 per semester. These students are required to make a presentation during the semester, reporting on the results of their research findings; in addition, they are required to submit a (3-5 page) paper by the end of the quarter that reports on the findings and accounts for feedback received during their presentation. Students who do not seem to be making progress in their research or fail to make a presentation and/or submit a paper are likely to have their scholarships suspended and will be ineligible for scholarship support until they are again actively participating in and contributing to the program.
The seminar will meet every semester (other than Summer) on Mondays at 10:20-11:15am in DL 263. We are currently in the process of having a regular course number assigned for the seminar; for now, students should register for 1-cr hour of Dr. Soundarajan's section of CSE 4193, "Independent Studies". Regular attendance at the seminar and active participation are key to achieving the program's outcomes. Hence, every student is expected to attend the seminar regularly and participate actively. Failure to do so without prior consultation with the NEWPATH faculty may result in the student being suspended from the program. In some cases, it is recognized that a student may not be able to participate in the seminar for part of or even an entire semester. In such cases, the student should inform, by email, the NEWPATH faculty, no later than by the end of the first week of the quarter in question. Failure to do so will render the student ineligible for scholarship support and support for internship-salary and other program related activities for the next two quarters. Repeated failure to attend the seminar and failure to participate actively will result in the student being dropped from the program.
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