UH launches new startup incubator


A new initiative to boost innovation and entrepreneurship across the 10-campus University of Hawaii system is now accepting applications.

Called Ideation Studio@UH, the new incubator program from the UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) provides concierge services, resources and seed funding to advance UH-affiliated innovations from ideas to market.

Vincent Kimura

“This program is developed for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs,” said Vincent Kimura, Director of Programs and Partnerships. “Many faculty don’t realize that running a lab—securing funding, managing staff, developing and testing inventions and products—is a lot like running a business. We’re here to help them take their ideas and inventions from the lab to the market to impact the greater community.”

Unlike other accelerator and incubator programs, Ideation Studio@UH provides a 12–24 month curated experience that drives innovation and the long-term success of UH tech startups. The inaugural spring 2022 cohort will be limited to 4–5 participants, who will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Applications may be submitted from January 19–February 1, 2022 on the UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization website.

The program’s wrap-around services and benefits for each selected cohort participant include:

  • Guidance: Personalized education and coaching through mentors, advisors, webinars, classes and/or aligned programs.
  • Resources: $50,000 in-kind operational support for legal and financial options and guidance on grant opportunities, business operations and strategic planning.
  • Funding: Up to $25,000 in milestone-based seed funding, and support in securing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and/or other potential grant and investment opportunities.
  • Perks: Exclusive networking, partnerships, community building, publicity and award opportunities.

Ideation Studio@UH will be a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship at UH,” said UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis L. Syrmos. “It is tailored to meet the needs of our faculty and staff to support them in starting companies, creating jobs and diversifying and growing our economy and Hawaiʻi’s innovation ecosystem.”

The program is made possible by the support of a $2.7 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Seed funding will be provided through OIC’s UH Ventures, LLC.

Informational webinars will be held on Wednesday, January 12 at 1:30 p.m. and January 19 at 9 a.m.

For more information, visit the UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization website or contact Lea Okudara at lokudara@hawaii.edu.

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash.

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