To further facilitate the commercialization of technology and innovation developed across its 10-campuses, the University of Hawaiʻi recently decided to internally house its nationally recognized startup accelerator and changed its name to the UH Ventures Accelerator.
The revamped program, under the UH Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, will be operated by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at UH Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business—already well-known for its successful stable of entrepreneurial programs including the UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge, UH Venture Competition (formerly known as the UH Business Plan Competition) and the Summer Startup Launchpad.
The UH Ventures Accelerator will be open to new venture founders from among faculty, staff, students and alumni of UH and will draw not only from PACE’s programs, but also from the many other innovation and entrepreneurial programs across UH campuses system-wide. In order to be eligible to participate, applying ventures must be associated with any of the 10 university and community college campuses within UH.
For example, at least one member of the founding team must be either a UH student, faculty member, staff or alumni, or a licensee of UH technology. Applications for spring 2020 are now being accepted at: http://pace.shidler.hawaii.edu/accelerator.
“The name change to UH Ventures Accelerator reflects our desire to continually improve and expand our innovation ecosystem,” said Steve Auerbach, interim director of the UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization/Office of Technology Transfer. “By bringing our accelerator in-house, we now have PACE’s proven expertise and track record combined with their understanding and familiarity of UH that can take us to the next level in commercialization.”
The UH Ventures Accelerator will run two cohorts in the spring and fall each year. The three-month long program will include extensive mentoring, education and networking to accelerate market readiness. Accepted cohort companies will be eligible for equity investment from UH Ventures, LLC and may be included in its portfolio of companies, which have received support and investment from UH since the accelerator was launched in 2014.
Running the UH Ventures Accelerator for UH will be Peter Rowan, executive director of PACE, who has participated in UH’s efforts to support and invest in UH-related technology and startup ventures directly through the vetting of applications, education and mentoring for the previous accelerator.
“In addition to the UH Ventures Accelerator, we also established the Liftoff Advisors program to help fill the gap between launching a startup and entering an accelerator,” said Rowan. “As a result, the UH is now positioned to offer a complete suite of innovation and entrepreneurial programs from start to finish for our innovators and future entrepreneurs.”