Campus Ventures is a university-based commercialization accelerator program designed to assist Maine companies and university faculty commercialize technology and manufacturing projects. The program helps entrepreneurs and university faculty members advance technology-intensive projects and provides rich experiential learning opportunities for students.
Campus Ventures supports innovation, economic development, and job creation in Maine. USM has partnered with the Maine Center for Enterprise Development (MCED) to create a dual track technology- and business-development incubator program to accelerate commercialization activity for both startups and faculty spin-off projects. The program also provides services to larger, more established companies in a fee-for-service arrangement. Campus Ventures is funded in part through a Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF) grant, a Maine Technology Institute (MTI) Cluster Development Award, and by industry partners.
Campus Ventures receives an allocation of MEIF funds to conduct USM's commercialization activities. The purpose of these funds is to create a direct commercialization path for faculty research. In 2010, USM and UMaine were awarded an MTI Cluster Development grant to support the Precision Manufacturing Cluster. These funds are being currently used to build capacity to support Maine companies in the precision manufacturing sector. Included in this grant were three pieces of advanced prototyping, 3D scanning, and manufacturing equipment which was divided between the two campuses.
Capacity to build this program was funded in large part due to MTI's investment in building staff, project management and technical capacity with our partners at UMaine's AMC.
To date, the Campus Ventures program has completed or is currently engaged in 30 applied research and commercialization projects. Since inception in 2010, three new commercialized products or technologies have been brought to market through the program. Over 60 undergraduate and graduate students have completed paid internships with the program.