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Ideas 2 Business

School of Business Administration

Elliott Hall, Room 427
275 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)

From initial brainstorming to commercialization, Ideas 2 Business (I2B) at Oakland University (OU) is a multifaceted business program that helps OU students, staff and faculty members develop their entrepreneurial ideas.

Oakland University’s I2B program offers assistance to student-, faculty-, and regional-businesses in the early phases of their development. The program assists companies in evaluating the critical next step(s) in their progress toward commercialization. The I2B utilizes teams consisting of a company representative, a business mentor, and both undergraduate and/or graduate students. Over a 6 week period of time, the students research and develop solutions to the critical need of the company. The mentors assist I2B teams by overseeing progress, providing advice, and contributing needed expertise. The program is jointly supported by Oakland’s School of Business Administration and Research Office.

Regional companies, faculty, students, or other individuals who have a company, or an idea for a company can apply to I2B (below). If accepted into the program, companies will be matched with student teams. The I2B program will run groups of 5 - 6 companies at a time.

Required meetings of student teams and companies are held 3 times during each iteration of the program:

  • Introduction: I2B Mentors, Teams and Companies meet. Mentors discuss details of the I2B program, the company’s product and their expectations of the I2B team.
  • Mid-course progress check: All companies/teams meet to discuss progress/difficulties facing each team.
  • I2B Mini-symposium: At the end of the 6 week period, each team does a presentation of their company’s product and the outcomes of their research.

If you think you have a great business idea, apply to I2B today!

Any OU student can participate in the I2B program; you do not need to be a business or related major. In fact, other expertise and viewpoints are needed. Students accepted into the I2B program will receive a small scholarship ($200 - $300; undergraduate and graduate, respectively) and a certificate upon successful completion of the 6 week program. Students on a team work at their own pace. However, they are strongly encouraged to get together often as a group. This better mimics a work-environment and allows sharing of opinions and resources.

The most tangible outcome for participating students is helping to develop an entrepreneurial mindset: the ability to think creatively about problems for which resources are often limited. This directly translates into entrepreneurial skills. While you might not establish your own company, the experiences gained in the real-world context of the I2B program will benefit you in any work environment. Beyond work-skills, I2B students will meet people from a variety of backgrounds and with varying levels of expertise. Such networking opportunities will help their future careers and employment prospects.

Interested in joining I2B? Please email a cover letter and resume to [email protected].

Mentors: These volunteers are local executives and entrepreneurs, as well as OU faculty, staff, and alumni. Mentors meet with the students and the company frequently. Mentors can also become involved in many other I2B activities, such as judging pitch presentations, participating in networking opportunities, etc.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Email [email protected] to find out more.

Companies: The I2B program furnishes companies with up to 60 hours of targeted assistance focused on specific gaps in their development path. The company pays a small fee ($250.00) to partially offset program costs; the University covers the rest. While the type of information gained or work product varies, the end-goal is that the company has moved closer to commercialization. Depending on the phase of development, they may be ready to seek funding, launch the company, or move into one of Oakland University’s incubators.