| in Campus Life, Community, GRS, Programs, Students

Are you interested in a career in innovation? Do you want to start your own business? If either of those ideas appeal to you, BU has ample resources to help transform your dreams into reality. Through our BUild Lab and Spark! programs, students are empowered to lead the way with their own innovative projects.

Innovate@BU a cross-university initiative that supports undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent alumni to solve meaningful problems, be drivers of innovation, and create an impact in their own lives, careers, and community. They offer extracurricular programs, coaching, funding, and co-working space called the BUild Lab  that help students and alumni develop startups and community impact projects, as well as build entrepreneurial skills and mindset. 

Here is a list of programs our graduate students may find helpful:

  • Annual $72K New Venture Competition: pitch competition for early-stage startups and startup ideas (for-profit and non-profit both welcome); the top winners combined win $72K in cash prizes

  • Innovation Pathway: Startup incubation program that helps students incubate for-profit and non-profit startups by providing them a dedicated coach, curated learning resources and guidance, and up to ~$5K grant funding

  • Project Action: Community impact project incubation program that helps students develop and launch one-time projects that positively impact a local community or any community in the world by providing them a dedicated coach, curated learning resources and guidance, and up to ~$3K grant funding.

  • Summer Accelerator: 10-week cohort-based program that helps students build a for-profit or non-profit venture by providing them a rigorous curriculum, coaching, and a $10K stipend to work on their venture/venture idea.

  • Summer Social Impact Venture Incubator: an 8-week cohort-based program that helps students who are new to but interested in social entrepreneurship to intern at a non-profit or for-profit social impact venture, learn how to be a social entrepreneur through workshops, and come up with and work on a social impact venture idea with a $5,500 stipend.

Additionally, BU Spark! is another program catered toward students in computing and data sciences. Spark! is a technology incubator and experiential learning lab for student-led computing, data science, and engineering projects at BU. 

Abhishek Malakar, an MS in Computer Science student and Spark! intern, has been working with the Justice Lab team, where they are developing a portal to contain and display information about incarcerated people in the U.S. Their project will serve as a comprehensive database and will be used for sociological analysis. Abhishek shares his experience in Spark!:

“Cultivating a collaborative environment and engaging in stimulating discussions with the team at Boston University Spark has been the highlight of my experience thus far. It has been truly delightful strategizing from inception to completion, exploring various solutions together. Through this enriching project, I have had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons in teamwork, hone my ability to develop stable and efficient solutions, and witness the seamless integration of sociology, data science, and software development. This multidisciplinary journey within the esteemed BU Spark has been a truly rewarding and enlightening endeavor.”

Each program provides resources for students to explore and develop their own innovative ideas in their respective fields. If being a leader in your field is something that excites you, BU is an excellent place for you to find support and guidance as you seek to launch your career and see your innovations come to life.