CT Next Grant Jump Starts UB Faculty and Students

Aerial view of Bauer Hall, home of the Student Entrepreneur Center

Above: Bauer Hall, home of the Student Entrepreneur Center.

UB has been awarded a $120,000 CT Next Grant to help UB faculty and students and our partner institutions accelerate the growth of new business and technical ventures in Connecticut.

Over the past three years, the university has managed to give out an amazing twenty-seven $5000 mini-grants to take start-up businesses and budding entrepreneurs from the world of ideas into the world of reality. Of those, fifteen were awarded to UB faculty and student teams, while the others were given to partner institutions that include Fairfield University, Housatonic Community College, and Norwalk Community College. With this new funding, UB can award twelve mini-grants in 2021 alone.

CT Next offers help to startups by providing resources, guidance, and networks to accelerate success in businesses that will bring jobs and revenue to the state. UB then distributes these grants to applicants who have high growth potential, across a broad spectrum of technological and business concepts. Rolling applications are reviewed by a committee who judges them on a rubric of feasibility and potential. Most of the scholars and entrepreneurs applying are at an early stage of their ideas, and these grants give them seed money to get started.

“It’s a great way to jump start a project and have access to business and intellectual property experts,” says Julie Demers, in the Office of Corporate, Foundation, Faculty, and Institutional Grants. “We’re helping them get to the next step.”

This is UB’s fourth year receiving the grant money, but recently we have expanded and improved the process by partnering with the Student Entrepreneur Center in Bauer Hall. By working closely with the experts at the center, the school is now able to guide anyone more fully through the process of business formation. “We’re working as a team,” says Sherri Dente, the Director of Technology Transfer and Venture Creation. “We can act as a complete support network for students who are starting businesses.”

As a licensed JD with a concentration in Intellectual Property from Quinnipiac University School of Law and a patent attorney with over 13 years of experience, Dente manages the movement of innovation from the school into the world. This often involves helping students manage their intellectual property, for which the university is also partnering with local law firms and patent attorneys. “We put aside some money to help students and faculty copyright and trademark,” says Dente. “And last semester two students successfully filed for trademarks.”

As all these puzzle pieces have moved into place, UB’s entrepreneurs are looking towards an even more productive future. “The idea is to grow the program and assist even more entrepreneurs at UB,” Dente declares enthusiastically. “We can grow the thriving community we already have here.”

Contact Sherri Dente at 203-576-4190 or sdente@bridgeport.edu for more information about applying for these grants.