Imagine. Empowering each and every one of Ohio State University’s 63,000+ students—regardless degree, age, or background—to start, and fund, a business. Visiting its University’s crowdfunding ecosystem, ignite.osu.edu, students would find a centralized source of information, mentorship, and even a clear path to funding their ideas and ambitions. The platform wouldn’t guarantee success, of course—but it would guarantee, and deliver, opportunity.
Empowering students to ignite their entrepreneurial ambitions, anytime, anywhere, was the topic of the first part of this University series (Why Universities Need to Get Smart on Crowdfunding). But students aren’t the only stakeholders who would benefit from an integrated crowdfunding platform; it would also deliver significant value to Alumni, providing them the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the innovation taking place at their University.
Let’s loosely define innovation in this context as (i) student, faculty and alumni startups and (ii) research and development.
Ask your fellow Alumni, “What innovation is taking place at our University? You know, student entrepreneurs, startups created, or exciting research and development in commercialization?” and you’re likely to be met with blank faces. (Stanford et al. strictly being the exception.) I asked my own classmates; not a single one had a clue. Not only did they not know, they had no idea where they would go to find out. Call the business school maybe?