ACCELERATE, Wentworth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center nurtures a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking among Wentworth’s students. Connects students with mentors, alumni and professionals to learn, explore, push their ideas, follow their passion, have fun, and grow. We offer programs, but also events, workshops, and fun activities for EVERYBODY.
|Startup Challenge||Social Innovation Lab||College ThinkTank|
The Startup Challenge is an interdisciplinary extra-curricular program helping students develop innovative thinking skills and entrepreneurial confidence through interdisciplinary teamwork. It provides students with a platform for idea exploration, mentorship, networking opportunities and gives students permission to test an idea without fear of failure. This educational foundation serves to impact the students’ definition of success, reframe their role in a company and provide a taste of the startup culture.
WORKSHOPS + EVENTS
Inspiration happens everywhere, but particularly where you don’t expect it. We intentionally create workshops and events to encourage students to leave the beaten or predictable path of their disciplines.
MENTORS + AMBASSADORS + COACHES
Alumni, professionals, faculty ambassadors, and service providers donate time to serve as mentors and functional experts to help guide student entrepreneurs and startups. Coaches aim to guide, encourage and connect student teams.
Teams can pitch for gap funding (up to $10,000) to achieve their next milestone. PitchRounds take place five times a year. Funded teams launched ACCELERATE spin offs such as Gentoo and Backroad Pedicab. ACCELERATE Alumni such as Pillar Technologies raised funding and established ventures after graduation.
Product creation and social impact is a strong focus of ACCELERATE. We established a maker lab and facilitate access to the manufacturing center and other labs on campus to receive support for prototyping.
The Social Innovation Lab is a 12-week interdisciplinary and immersive experience encouraging coop students, the Social Innovation Fellows, to create innovations that matter, solve real world issues and work in a high-intensity environment. Students partner with an external organization, e.g. WGBH, Zoo New England, Boston Children’s Museum, State of Massachusetts and others, to address a challenge they are facing. Throughout the process the Fellows are connecting with over thirty external thought partners and organizations to harvest subject matter expertise and transfer it to the SIL challenges.
From preventing homelessness, effective recycling systems, stroller re-designs and support mechanisms for individuals with disabilities to patients undergoing strenuous infusion treatments, zoo visitor engagement, and animal enrichment. The problems tackled can be quite diverse, however the process is always the same and follows design thinking principles:
Analyzing the challenge to truly uncover and analyze what the problem is and where the window of opportunity lies. Close work with various stakeholders, experts and mentors is essential.
Ideation doesn’t happen alone. Each team will be on the hot seat at least once a week and utilize the insights of his/her peers as well as the innovator-in-residence to accelerate possible solutions and ideas.
Wentworth students are makers turning ideas into reality. The goal is to impact lives, generating scalable solutions and impactful ideas. Early prototypes and concepts will be developed, tested, stakeholder input solicited and evolved iteratively.
Each team is going to provide a scalability study to our partner to make sure that their concepts and ideas can spread and sustain within the community and/or organization.
In 2013 Accelerate partnered with the City of Boston to host a College ThinkTank, a one-day event bringing together 100 students across Boston to ideate around a civic challenge the City has. The students worked side by side with design/innovation firms and the community to produce relevant ideas.
Students are challenged to generate ideas that represent the community and shape Boston’s neighborhoods. To date, nearly 300 students outside of Wentworth participated across the greater Boston area from colleges such as MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Emerson, Roxbury Community College, Boston College, Boston University, MassArt, Babson and many others. More than 25 disciplines ranging from mathematics, liberal arts, music, engineering, design, architecture, law and art were represented.