Partner Spotlight: Innovate@BU

The Initiative on Cities partners with several organizations across campus at Boston University, each of which offers unique and engaging opportunities and programming for students and faculty. This week, we’re featuring Innovate@BU.

IOC: What issues is Innovate@BU currently tackling, and how can students get involved with the center?

Innovate@BU: We’re here to help students and alumni tackle issues that are most important to them, which include anything from climate change and healthcare, to arts and culture initiatives. We provide experiential education opportunities so students can establish an entrepreneurial mindset, opportunities to receive funding and mentorship that can help them make progress on a specific idea, and a community workspace where they can connect with staff, alumni, industry experts, and each other. The best way to start using our resources is by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, attending one of our community events like Idea Night, or applying to our Innovation Pathway program if they’re ready to start working on a specific idea.

What upcoming events or programming are you most excited about? 

We’re really excited about three upcoming programs: first, our keystone program, the Innovation Pathway, which is self-paced program that guides students through the phases of launching a new venture or project. We spent the summer adding more resources and tools and are so excited to see 100+ students using it already! We’re also excited about Idea Cup, a fall competition for students to win funding and faculty support to continue working on an innovative idea they developed in class. Applications are due November 17th, and the competition is open to all students with projects from this past summer or the current fall semester. Lastly, we are so excited about our 3rd Annual IDEA Conference, which is coming up in February! Our staff and Student Leadership Council are hard at work to create the premiere innovation and entrepreneurship conference for New England college students. Tickets go on sale December 3rd.

How do you interact with the city of Boston and/or partner with us at the Initiative on Cities? 

We interact with the City of Boston in a variety of ways; for instance, city and industry experts often host office hours or serve as guest speakers and judges for our signature programs. Currently, we’re co-hosting a $10,000 design competition with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, where students and alumni are asked to develop tech and hardware ideas that can improve the accessibility of community transit. This fall we also launched the Innovation & Entrepreneurship minor and its core course, Ideas2Impact. Students in the Ideas2Impact class partnered with the Initiative on Cities MetroBridge program to develop communication and engagement solutions for senior citizens in Easton, Massachusetts. We’re looking forward to seeing their ideas at the end of the semester!

Do you have any other comments you want to share about your work? 

Our resources and programs are here to help every BU student be prepared to create meaningful impact in their lives, careers, and communities. It’s always so exciting to hear how students are able to use entrepreneurial skills throughout different experiences, whether it’s for a student club, a community organization, or a class project. Feel free to stop by the student innovation center anytime from Monday-Friday, 8AM-8PM!