Start your Journey from Education to Enterprise

As New York’s land-grant college, Cornell has long been expected to turn research into useful products and processes. This was true in 1865 and is still true today. The path from having a strong desire to learn more about entrepreneurship to successfully commercializing a technology or idea is not always clear or direct. Whether you are an undergraduate, a graduate student or a Cornell faculty member, we can help guide you on your entrepreneurial journey. There is not just one correct path to commercializing an idea. And no particular path can guarantee success. But there are things you can learn and do to increase your chances of creating a successful startup. Looking for classes you can take? Technical advice on building a prototype? Financial backing to assemble a team and start production? Not sure where to begin? Start your journey here. You’ll find the resources you need no matter where you are on the path.

“I joined the Commercialization Fellowship because I wanted to get more exposure to thinking entrepreneurially about highly technical problems.”

2016 Fellow Bill Bedell
Ph.D. Candidate, Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Meet some of our Cornell Entrepreneurs

Jeremy Blum: Breaking rules to do great things

“If you see something that needs to be made, make it.  If you see the need, so does somebody else. If you don’t work on the solution, somebody else will.” One look at Jeremy Blum’s ’13 M. Eng.,’12  B.S. personal website gives ample evidence that he practices what he preaches. He has helped create an indoor lighting system that mimics the sun and uses far less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, he runs his own engineering consulting firm, he was a Kessler Fellow, he co-founded the PopShop co-working space for start-ups at Cornell, he founded and led the Cornell University Sustainable Design group, and he has designed electronics for consumer 3D printers and 3D scanners. Blum was recently hired by Google [x], a division of Google that focuses on building “moonshot” technologies.

Rachel Dorin: Exploring hard problems without fear

Rachel Dorin Ph.D. ’13 says “I have always been a bit of a risk-taker and trouble-maker. So I am lucky to have found a place where these traits are valued and even rewarded.”

The “place” Dorin found is the CEO’s chair at Terapore Technologies, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area. And she didn’t “find” that place so much as she created it. Terapore is a nanomaterials company that serves the pharmaceutical industry by making filters used in the manufacture of drugs. The company is four years old and was started by Dorin just one month after she received her Ph.D. from Cornell’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE).

John Amos: Challenging the status quo to make the world better

“John Amos ’85 EAS spent much of his childhood in the hills and gorges of Upstate New York with his father, looking for fossils. Fossils are plentiful in the area, as it used to be the bottom of a shallow sea, but to find them you have to know both where to look and what you are looking for. Otherwise, you just see a lot of rocks. As an adult, Amos has combined this ability to see things other people might miss with a desire to use digital mapping and remote sensing to make the world a better place. His nonprofit organization, SkyTruth, challenges the status quo and enlists ordinary people to help protect the environment.”

Dan Simpkins: Breaking rules to change the way we live

Dan Simpkins B.S. ’80 EE and MEng ’81 EE makes it clear that being a gifted engineer does not automatically make a person a good leader or businessman. “My grandparents had their own business,” says Simpkins. “I got to watch how businesses ran.  I got to see things from the perspective of a customer, but also from every perspective, end to end.” Simpkins learned valuable lessons from watching his grandparents, and then his father, run a business. “My father taught me that the customer is not always right; but when they are, you need to be able to react to it. He also taught me the value of treating employees right. You need to create impassioned employees.”

Ray Li and Michael Ndubuisi: Breaking the rules to push the limits of imagination

To play music, you need an instrument, right? You can pluck a string or vibrate a reed or strike a surface or force air through an opening. But whichever of these you decide to do, you need an instrument. It is one of the basic rules of music. Cornell Engineers Ray Li and Michael Ndubuisi have set out to break this basic rule. Their creation, called SoundSpace, has already created quite a buzz around the Cornell campus. An earlier incarnation of SoundSpace, (called Aura), won the Bright Idea Award from The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Innovation Competition in the winter of 2013. Li and Ndubuisi built on that success and presented a concert with a chamber orchestra in May of this year.

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Applications Accepted Through Early February 2022 The Commercialization Fellowship, offered by Cornell Engineering, is a unique opportunity for Ph.D. students to spend a fully funded semester and summer in an intensive entrepreneurship program. Fellows will have a...

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