Half of the presenters recently completed a three-month pilot program that helped nurture and refine innovative ideas and products with the active input of TAN advisors, says Sarah Mahan, associate director of TAN. The other six groups have been actively working with TAN advisors for a year or more, cultivating their product and bringing it closer to marketability.
TAN, often referred to as a virtual incubator, is a group of more than 80 alumni and friends who are experienced entrepreneurs, innovators, and mentors and who want to offer their expertise and networks to support other innovators and entrepreneurs—WPI students, faculty, alumni, and community members. Its recent move from Gateway Park to the Foisie Innovation Studio has exposed the TAN program to a wider WPI population and opened up new resources and options as entrepreneurs work toward commercialization, says Mahan. With collaboration from Donna Levin, executive director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E), and Curtis Abel, director of the Foisie Innovation Studio and I&E Integration, the I&E team is able to support and connect directly with students and faculty, offering events, goal-setting meetings, and various workshops and lectures.