Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute


Courtesy of Villanova ICE Twitter

Lauren Gresia

The University has recently been honored by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers for “Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines.” This honor is attributed to recognize the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute program. The ICE Institute is dedicated to creating, advancing and enabling entrepreneurship education opportunities for students to brainstorm ideas to develop an invention to pitch. The University’s mission in the development of ICE is to allow students to become innovative thinkers in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship so that they will be well-rounded when entering the marketplace. 

One requirement for first-year students in the College of Nursing, College of Engineering and Villanova School of Business is the ICE Challenge. Within the first eight weeks of taking classes at the University, students learn from the faculty, who are trained by ICE, about entrepreneurship, a vital skill they will use often in the future. Over the course of these eight weeks, students separate into groups and brainstorm ideas to pitch in front of their classmates and professors. 

After all the pitches are complete, one group is chosen to present during Global Entrepreneurship Week in front of a panel of judges. An app that students can use to order food to be picked up at the various campus dining halls, “Nova on the GO,” was a pitch by one group of freshmen. One member of the group, freshman Colleen Miller, College of Nursing expressed that she “really enjoyed participating in the ICE challenge. It gave me a chance to be creative and work with a group of peers to come up with a useful invention.”

The competition features representation across all aspects of the University with no restrictions on undergraduate school enrollment or intended majors. Students have the option to work on various types of projects—some taking up to an hour while others are week long immersion programs. Students who are more passionate about designing their own invention can enter the Entrepreneurship In-Residence Program. This program will provide students with access to expert hours and mentoring with experienced entrepreneurs. 

Second year students can join the ICE Certificate Program for Sophomores, in which they will have the opportunity to participate in eight workshops of all different topics, such as social entrepreneurship or improvisation to design thinking. Additionally, these students must attend an ICE program within the Philadelphia community, as well as complete a final project related to the University’s  Idea Accelerator.  

The Idea Accelerator, which opened in 2015, is located in the basement of Falvey Memorial Library. The area was created to encourage sharing ideas with other students, with the design of the chairs, walls, the technology and tools accessible to promote new ideas. Besides individual brainstorming as well as the collaboration between faculty members and students, the Idea Accelerator features workshops and guest speakers that emphasize innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. 

While sharing that the answers to today’s problems rely on students who are creative and entrepreneurial thinkers, II Luscri, Executive Director of the ICE Institute and Assistant Vice Provost for Centers and Institutes at the University, shared in a press release that “the ICE Institute at [the University] builds opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions to occur because we believe that students and faculty from the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, nursing and law can learn from one another and become well-rounded, innovative and creative thinkers.” Other great opportunities that ICE sponsors are immersion experiences.

These experiences allow students to travel to ecosystem locations to be exposed to new surroundings with innovative and technological excellence. Here they have a firsthand look on how to be innovative and entrepreneurial in new environments. 

University students can participate in several different program experiences. Villanova in Valley, located in Silicon Valley, as well as Villanova on Set, located in Southern California, focused on the film and entertainment industry, are both six-day programs in which students are able to explore new sites to learn from various companies about what it takes to start up a business. 

Additionally, the University participates in Villanova on the Hill to learn about Washington DC’s policymaking and takes day tours to technological companies in N.Y. and Philadelphia. The ability to learn from startups and entrepreneurs about innovation and entrepreneurship conveys the importance of learning how to think creatively and the ambition to contribute innovation in their respective future  endeavors.