Friday December 14, 2012 0 commentsBy Steve Porter
FORT COLLINS - Colorado State University's Institute for Entrepreneurship celebrated the launch of its Class of 2013 in its New Economy Venture Accelerator (NEVA) Program at Rocky Mountain Innosphere on Dec. 13.
A dozen CSU students and their teams will take part in the 12-month program starting next month. The Institute for Entrepreneurship opened last May on the CSU campus within the College of Business.
Charisse McAuliffe, Institute director, said the program includes a 16-week "Immersion Lab" in which students will be taken step by step through the fundamentals of starting their own company.
"They'll be attached to mentors and advisors and gain access to seed funding to help them get ready to pitch their companies to investors," she said.
Those students whose ventures emerge from the Immersion Lab with a proof of concept and committed entrepreneur will be invited to continue in the program as a "Startup Springboard Company."
Mike Freeman, RMI's CEO, told the accelerator program students RMI is committed to being a resource for the most outstanding ventures.
"What I'm hoping is in the spring I want the top one or two companies to be (RMI) clients in this building," he said.
Freeman noted that CSU student Brennan Zelener demonstrated his company's worthiness to be an RMI client and paved the way for others to follow.
Zelener's company - Newaya Recycling - recycles cell phones and is developing new phone applications.
"Brennan has made an enormous difference in this building," Freeman said. "We really love the enthusiasm he brings. The good news is we can work with undergrad and grad students."
Students in the program are developing businesses around a wide variety of products and services, including a new line of cross-fit workout equipment and chocolate-chip-infused marshmallows for a "better s'mores eating experience."
"I think you could see their products someday being sold in every national park in the country," McAuliffe said of the incipient marshmallow makers.
"It's going to be interesting to see who will benefit most from this experience," she said.
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor, advisor or coach for the NEVA program is encouraged to contact McAuliffe. The program is also looking for funds to help finance student venture development.
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For more information, visit www.biz.colostate.edu/EntrepreneurshipCenter.