The St Olaf Innovation Scholars program equips the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to work within the growing field of social innovation and entrepreneurship. The program includes four main components: monthly alumni roundtable discussions, entrepreneurship & leadership skill development seminars, externship opportunities, and academic internships during interim or the summer.
The Innovation Scholars program brings together students from the following programs:
- Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, founded by John Meslow ’60, offers undergraduate science and economics majors to evaluate projects submitted to the Mayo Office of Intellectual Property, the arm of Mayo responsible for evaluating potential business opportunities for discoveries and inventions created by Mayo Clinic physicians and researchers.
- St. Olaf Entrepreneurial Grants Program awards grants up to $3,000 to individuals or teams to launch sustainable enterprises that create value - commercial, social, artistic and/or scientific. Funds are awarded to students for entrepreneurial projects with social and economic potential.
Interim and summer internship experiences provide students with the opportunity to launch their own entrepreneurial venture with the support of experienced entrepreneurs and St. Olaf faculty and staff. While the success of the student’s venture is encouraged, the Innovation Scholars program focuses on the process of assessment, evaluation, revision, and growth throughout the internship experience.
St. Olaf alumni, or other professionals interested in supporting the Innovation Scholars program, can get involved in several ways. The most significant commitment would be to host an intern within an entrepreneurial organization, serving a mentoring role throughout the year, as well as providing space, resources, and support for an intern. Entrepreneurial professionals could also welcome students for a day to shadow employees and observe the operations of an innovative business or organization. The program also relies on professionals to speak at educational seminars and to attend networking sessions. If you are interested in getting involved in the Innovation Scholars program in any way, please contact the Piper Center for Vocation and Career at email@example.com or x3268.