Following CUNY's proud declaration of the Decade of the Sciences, Kingsborough's Virtual Enterprise program is being used to cultivate future entrepreneurs in Information Technology and BioTechnology. The work is supported by a $750,000 National Science Foundation, Advanced Technology Education grant jointly administered by the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise and Kingsborough's Center for Economic and Workforce Development (CEWD).
Virtual Enterprise (VE) has students simulate the staffing and operation of a business, supported by a technology platform and an international network of student businesses. The program was founded at Kingsborough over 10 years ago, and has been used in both graduate and undergraduate business education around CUNY at Queens College, Baruch, NYC College of Technology, and the School of Professional Studies. While the program has been used in a multitude of disciplines, the three STEM-based Virtual Enterprise courses being run in Winter 2010 mark VE's entrance into science entrepreneurship.
The course rollout has been in collaboration with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Department of Biological Sciences. The three offerings this Winter are:
- veit-Careers is for entry-level IT students. The primary goal is to motivate students to pursue an IT career, and to give them an idea of the breadth of jobs in the industry and the underlying education and skills needed to achieve their desired position. In the engagement, student teams form the staff of IT departments within an several existing firms and solve problems that arise in that field. To show the diversity of IT tasks embedded in other fields, students will be "working for" a law firm, finance firm, college, healthcare provider, and auto manufacturer.
- veit-Capstone is meant for the graduating IT student. The primary goal is to put into practice their IT skills, while developing an entrepreneurial mindset. Here, the students would create an IT consultancy centered around a product or service that is IT related. While evolving the technical aspects of the product/service, they would also handle the marketing, accounting and other facets of the business. Business structure would revolve around different departments (marketing, R&D, etc.).
- vebt-Capstone is the Bio-Technology Virtual Enterprise. Its goals are similar to that of veit-Capstone. The course will have students work with an existing disease to simulate the development of a drug. This drug will be rapidly taken from conceptual stage, through regulation, pricing, packaging and sales. At the end of the course, the BioTechnology students will keenly understand their importance within the larger enterprise.
There is currently an increased emphasis on stimulating innovation and supporting future entrepreneurs in the United States, especially in areas of emerging technologies. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides incentives such as tax-breaks for small businesses and increased funding for research and science. Recognizing the critical need for technological innovation and advances, U.S. corporations are also investing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. It is necessary to provide the proper foundation for the next generation of entrepreneurs to enable them to transition their innovative ideas into successful products and business ventures. This requires a renewed focus on education in the STEM areas, as well as promoting multidiscipline cooperation and embedding business and entrepreneurial skills into curricula. Adopting Virtual Enterprise to STEM-areas follows this national priority closely.
Kingsborough Community College is hosting a free faculty development seminar on STEM-Virtual Enterprise on February 8th and 9th.
Faculty both within CUNY and at other colleges are welcome to attend. For more details see the Call for Participation at: https://www.teachingtechnicians.org/event_details.asp?id=846