Biodiesel teamThe Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in numerous ways. The annual Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Award, for example, encourages undergraduate engineering students to consider the commercial potential of their design projects or research. In addition, the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year (KEY) Program offer selected students a fifth, tuition-free year of college to help transform an idea into reality.

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The Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition

In 1989, Charles and Janet Forbes (’40) provided an endowment to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to establish the Forbes Entrepreneurial Award, which encourages current, full-time undergraduate engineering students to consider the commercial potential of topics or processes they are studying.

Charles Forbes was motivated by his belief that engineers, with an appreciation of the business aspects of new ventures, can contribute significantly to a much needed increase in manufacturing and production-oriented industry in the United States. Accordingly, the award was intended to encourage engineering students to augment their academic design projects with a business plan, including the initial organizational, financial, marketing, and production aspects of a company based on their design results.

Students, individually or in teams, compete by submitting a business plan for a manufacturing or technical business (usually based on their senior design projects). Prize money of over $1,000 has been awarded for outstanding projects.

A student or a group intending to compete in the competition can meet with mentors regarding preparation of proposals. Business plans for a manufacturing and/or technical business are developed. Applications must be submitted online.

A small number of individuals/groups are invited to make oral presentations to a panel of judges and to compete for the prize(s). These presentations to the judges, each about 5 minutes long, will take place on Friday, April 29 from 3–4:30 p.m.  The award winner(s) are selected from this set.

Submissions for the 2022 competition must be submitted online by noon on Friday, April 15. Please contact heidi.mergenthaler@rochester.edu with questions.

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e5 (formerly known as KEY) Program

Qualified students may propose to devote as much as an entire academic year to internships, special projects, business plan development, research into various facets of entrepreneurship, or analysis of how culture and public policy influence entrepreneurial activity.

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