Universities: What Do Unicorns Cost?
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Unicorns: Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, twitter, Pinterest; the trending term for private entrepreneurial companies that grow to be worth more than a Billion (US dollars equivalent). Can organizations create these unicorns?
Entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing subjects in undergraduate curricula today, with over 5,000 entrepreneurship courses on offer to over 400,000 students yearly across both two year and four-year U.S. colleges. Most of these institutions have also invested in clubs, competitions, workshops, internships, meetups, and other ancillary support and training programs. Leading universities have implemented, or plan to implement, initiatives to catalyze high-growth startup activity and support student founders, including campus accelerators and seed financing for the most promising ideas.
The most forward-thinking schools are experimenting with novel approaches that draw inspiration from (among other things) technology commercialization and open innovation programs, and are actively attempting to connect external capital, resources, and expertise with budding student-run startups.
The dream of many entrepreneurship efforts is to be able to take credit for the next billion-dollar company in their region. What challenges universities and other organizations in supporting innovation and startups? What do these unicorns cost?