The MTE 590 Capstone course in the Master of Technological Entrepreneurship program provides students with a hands-on, real world opportunity to complete a project in one of the three following roles:
- Startup Founder: Bring your startup ideas to your Capstone project. Identify, investigate and/or evaluate the suitability of a product or service to the marketplace.
- Creative Researcher/Research Commercialization: Apply your talents to investigate and/or evaluate a research-based technology for suitability as a product or service.
- Corporate Innovator: Make an impact within a business or organization. Work with an existing company to evaluate and/or investigate a product or service opportunity for the company.
Students will either build or join a small team to develop a prototype, engage customers and partners, and identify support and/or funding. Students are required to take MTE 590 in every semester of their program to facilitate application of learning to their project.
- Prerequisite: None
- Lab course, 3-6 credits per semester
Typical Capstone Projects
The following are examples of projects that students might undertake.
Startup Founder project example
Disabled individuals lack affordable assistive technologies. One group, the blind and visually impaired, needs more effective aids for navigating their surroundings. One student investigated the issue deeply, interviewing individuals in their homes and in various living situations. With observations gained from these interviews, the student proposed and designed a specialized backpack that integrates normal storage functionality with storage and support for effective navigation technologies.
One goal of this project was the identification of lower cost devices that might be used in place of specialized, expensive, purpose-built devices. Community partners and commercial entities supporting the visually impaired participated in the project. The student competed in and won local business plan competitions.
Creative Researcher/Research Commercialization project example
A team of students partnered with a university lab to study the commercial potential of one of their research projects. Starting with an in-depth lab tour, interview with professors and graduate students, and reviewing published and raw research data, the student team used a commercialization framework over the course of a semester to explore options and develop a concrete business plan and road map. The process included interviews with prospective users, customers, partners, and manufacturers.
The insights gained from multiple data sources allowed the student team to conduct competitive analyses, create a technology road map, and develop market entry plans and a detailed financial model.
Corporate Innovator project example
A regional manufacturing conglomerate has an innovation center which hires college interns to study new opportunities for improvement. Projects include new product exploration, product extensions, manufacturing efficiencies, and enhanced business processes. Student interns often move on to full-time positions with the company, using the relationships and experience built during their internships to advance their careers.
The value of this program is that students work on real problems, evaluate multiple projects and compete for internal resources, modeling their future jobs. Companies provide budgets for projects based on projected return on investment, which the students develop.