Rhett Weiss

Rhett Weiss

May 09

MasterCard Innovation Express Competition

The January – March 2014 quarter saw a first for Cornell: In partnership with MasterCard and MasterCard Labs, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (EII) launched the MasterCard Innovation Express (MCIE) competition at Cornell. This is the first MCIE to be held on a university campus. MCIE challenges four selected teams to leverage MasterCard technology to deliver a new MasterCard product or solution that will appeal to university students and/or young professionals.

Each team of eight has six students — including MBAs, engineers, graphics artists, and videographers — plus two MasterCard employees. They will convene in Ithaca to create prototypes, plans, and videos during a 48-hour hackathon starting Friday, May 2. The teams then will pitch their concepts the following Sunday to judges both for prizes and the possibility that MasterCard will commercialize the best concepts. Among last quarter’s repeats:

  • Project Mentors Program. Through PMP, EII again has connected 12 MBA students to the College of Engineering’s Interdisciplinary Design Concepts course. The MBA students mentor engineering student teams on business aspects of their inventions and commercialization projects.
  • BR Technology. BRT members, who work directly with Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC) portfolio managers and Cornell inventors to determine business cases and market opportunities for new inventions, doubled to 12 MBA students. BRT is a continuous business collaboration between EII and CCTEC to help commercialize more Cornell technology faster.
  • Annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. EII supported Cornell’s presence at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). For the third year in a row, Rhett Weiss, EII’s executive director, coached Cornell’s MBA team in the IDEAcorps Challenge, a competition among different pairs of local startups and MBA teams from top schools. Also, as part of NOEW’s program, Weiss again presented on entrepreneurial negotiations and deal-making to an over-capacity audience. The week before, he facilitated a session at the annual conference of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.
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