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October 14, 2004

UMBC Trains Future Entrepreneurs

The Kauffman Entrepreneur Internship Program (KEIP) introduces UMBC students to the challenges and rewards of becoming entrepreneurs through intensive internships. UMBC's Shriver Center and the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship launched KEIP in the fall of 2002 with the goal of offering graduates and undergraduates a first-hand learning experience in entrepreneurship while providing companies with outstanding students at half the cost.

Since its inception, KEIP has exposed 48 students to entrepreneurship through mentoring and internships in 28 start-up and emerging firms in Maryland. The types of industries include: 40 percent information technology, 21 percent health care consulting/manufacturing and 21 percent engineering firms. Students hail from many disciplines, including: information systems, history, economics, bioinformatics, graphic design, computer engineering, psychology, computer science, mathematics and mechanical engineering.

The program is cost effective for participating companies, paying nearly 50% of the internship. Companies obtain access to a pool of pre-screened, high achieving UMBC students with an entrepreneurial interest. Organizations participating in the program's third year include: Absolute Quality Inc., Athena Environmental Sciences Inc., Carter International Concierge Inc., Cybergroup Inc., E-Global Interactive, Engenium Technologies Inc. and PCTechSource.

AthenaES, a techcenter@UMBC incubator graduate, has utilized several UMBC student interns during its ten year history. “Interns have been a great resource for the company and an excellent way of developing the talent that the company needs to continue its growth,” says Sheldon Broedel, chief executive and science officer.

AthenaES, which is developing a reagent tool that will allow researchers to monitor contamination levels in preparations of recombinant proteins, has taken on two Kauffman interns this year. A UMBC bioinformatics and computational biology major, Nabila Bashir-Bello, will learn the technical aspects of developing biotechnology-based products and will become acquainted with the process of commercialization. “This is a fantastic opportunity, how many students get the chance to actually develop a product,” says Bashir-Bello.

AthenaES' second student, Melissa Taylor, is a UMBC graphic arts major. Taylor will help design marketing collateral for the company. “It is very exciting working for a small company," she says. "I cannot believe the level of responsibility I have been given.

Christine Routzahn, project director for KEIP, says, “The Shriver Center and the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship are pleased with the program's results and are eager to move forward to implement our third year of the Kauffman Entrepreneur Internship Program. Given the vision of UMBC and the quality of our existing efforts, we have developed a model that will continue to impact our students and entrepreneurial firms in a positive way.”

UMBC encourages students to explore entrepreneurship at all levels. Students who break new ground in science and technology, push the envelope in the creative arts and provide solutions to society's problems can all become future entrepreneurs.

For more information about KEIP visit www.umbc.edu/entrepreneurship.

Posted by dwinds1 at October 14, 2004 12:00 AM