INVOReach: Supporting Innovator Diversity at Northwestern
INVOReach is an initiative that focuses on developing resources that improve the diversity of inventorship and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University.
It seeks to increase innovation diversity in a variety of ways, for example through gender representation, level of previous entrepreneurial experience, and areas of innovation. Initial efforts will focus on increasing women inventors and entrepreneurs and offering programs to help newly formed teams to test and explore business propositions.
Compared to their male counterparts across the broader entrepreneurial landscape, female innovators remain less likely to disclose inventions, to patent, and to engage in entrepreneurial activity. Through INVOReach, INVO looks to challenge that global reality, discarding myths about entrepreneurship, empowering female innovation and inventorship, and increasing the number of Northwestern female faculty in the entrepreneurial ranks by 30 percent over the next three years.
With a soft launch in late 2015, INVOReach takes aim at those numbers, helping female innovators become inventors and female inventors become entrepreneurs or board members, particularly in the STEM and life science fields.
The initiative confronts two common impediments to female entrepreneurial success: uneven access to resources and the lack of a network. Through the INVOReach program, select female innovators will be pulled into the INVO ecosystem and its vast array of resources, including: connections to targeted role models and mentors; support in the pursuit of scholarly, funding, and promotional awards as well as commercialization grants; training for pitch sessions; access points to partners and investors; and guidance through the startup formation.
While the INVO initiative is currently for targeted female faculty and staff members only, the long-term plan is to cover the entire Northwestern entrepreneurial pipeline from undergraduates to senior faculty and for INVOReach to broaden its reach with targeted programming designed to further drive diversity in entrepreneurship at the university.
For more information, visit INVOReach.