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Events  |  Spotlights  |  Resources  |  Programs  | Partners |

February 19, 2021

The CMU Swartz Center Celebrates Black Entrepreneurs During Black History Month
The CMU Swartz Center joins Carnegie Mellon University in celebrating Black History Month by acknowledging black student and alumni entrepreneurs who are blazing the trail. These entrepreneurs will be featured for the remainder of February.
Asha Banks is the founder and CEO of CheerNotes, inclusive greeting cards curated for simple discovery and gifting. The company amplifies indie designers that honor diversity in messaging and representation to allow for the authentic exchanges between loved ones. Find out more about Asha and see more great entrepreneurs below.

Related: The Business of Inclusion - Tepper School alumna Asha Banks' CheerNotes helps everyone find the perfect way to communicate meaningful moments
Awa Ndiaye (left), founder and CEO, and Akwelle Quaye, Deputy Executive Director, Zodaj
The CMU Swartz Center Announces Spring 2021 NSF I-Corps Cohort
The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the Spring 2021 cohort of its NSF I-Corps Site program, a 10-week customer discovery training program that assists CMU entrepreneurs in exploring the commercial potential of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) research and ideas. Now in its eighth year, 180 teams from all seven CMU schools have participated in the program and have received more than $65M in follow on funding for their ideas.

The program instructor is Kit Needham, Director of CMU’s Project Olympus incubator. Teams receive up to $2,500 in National Science Foundation funding along with one-on-one mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence for the duration of the program. The current cohort is comprised of fifteen startup teams including CMU faculty, staff, alumni and students at the undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. levels.

Find out more about the teams. 
Marinus Analytics to Represent U.S. in $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Grand Prize
CMU Auton Lab spinoff Marinus Analytics, the Pittsburgh-based technology company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight human trafficking, has been selected as the lone American finalist for the global $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Competition. Co-founded by CMU alumna Emily Kennedy and Cara Jones, Marinus will present its pitch later this year for a chance at the $3M grand prize. Read more.
 Two 2020-21 Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows and CMU alumna Emily Kennedy Making Moves
Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh
Virtual Startup Job Fair
March 11, 2021 | 12:00-3:00 PM; EST
In partnership with Handshake, CMU and Pitt are hosting a virtual 2021 Startup Job Fair on Thursday, March 11, 2021.

Past years have proven the Startup Job Fair to be a success, and this new format will provide even more reach for startups to attract top talent. Startups will have the opportunity to build their team and university students will have a chance to work in an exciting startup environment. If you have not participated in a virtual job fair, you will be given instructions and personal assistance if needed.

This NO-FEE Job Fair is for startup companies up to five years old that are looking for paid positions: interns, part-time, or full-time employees. 


See the full Spring 2021 schedule here.
Can't make a CONNECTS seminar? Watch on our YouTube channel. 

The mission of 99 Tartans is to partner with the highest potential, early-stage CMU alumni companies and accelerate their success through access to capital and networks. Please visit and find out more.
CMU GEC CMU UEA Scottie Ventures CMU Summit

The focus of the CMU Tech & Entrepreneurship is to connect the CMU             community, alumni and students, building an entrepreneurial culture and providing resources for the community to succeed. There are multiple region-based chapters within the group. Find out more
CMU Startup EKTO VR Seeks Beta Testers for EKTO ONE

EKTO ONE, the world's first robotic VR movement solution, needs your help to improve its functionality. A product of CMU startup EKTO VR, a participant in the Swartz Center's VentureBridge and NSF I-Corps programs, the company is looking for beta testers to try out EKTO ONE in both an industrial training VR experience and as a gaming VR experience. All levels of prior VR experience are welcome and as a thank you, EKTO VR will be raffling off two Amazon gift cards worth $25!
Beta testers should meet the following requirements:
•    Age: 18 - 55
•    Shoe size: US Men's 7 - 14 / US Women's 8.5 - 15.5
•    Weight: 120 - 250 pounds
•    Height: 5' 4" - 6' 4"
•    Able and willing to walk for at least 30 minutes
Testing will take place during a 2-hour slot on one of six days from February 24 through March 6 at Nova Tower One, One, Allegheny Square E, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. COVID precautions will be strictly observed. EKTO VR team members will be masked and gloved and beta testers must be masked as well. The VR system will be sanitized between each beta tester. Each 2-hour slot will be dedicated to a single beta tester and overlap with the preceding and subsequent beta testers will be minimized.
Email questions to Brad Factor at brad@ektovr.com. Still interested? Complete the quick 4-part questionnaire.
 CMU Startup Tabs.do! Seeks Beta Users

If you've ever felt overwhelmed by the number of tabs you have open on your computer, you're not alone. Whether it’s the thought of which tabs to close, finding the exact tab in the sea of open tabs or keeping a tab open in hopes of finally having time to get back to it, tab management is stressful. To help solve this problem, a research team from Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science has just finished a year-long study to determine why tab managers fail. The team is looking for beta users for their proposed solution called Tabs.do!.

Sign up here if interested in becoming a beta user and gaining special access to the Tabs.do! system. 

Swartz Center Education and Resources

No matter what phase of the entrepreneurship cycle you're in, there are programs and resources at the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship that will take your idea to the next level. Find out more.

Project Olympus Incubator Program

The Swartz Center's Project Olympus incubator program welcomes all students, faculty, staff and alumni from all schools at any stage, including social enterprise and life-style business ideas. Find out more. Sign up for Expert Office Hours.



The VentureBridge Program

VentureBridge is an initiative of the Swartz Center to help early stage Carnegie Mellon alumni founders develop their startups into fundable seed stage ventures. This effort is outside of the traditional education model and serves as a bridge between the many different ecosystems that Carnegie Mellon University alumni live and work. Find out more.

Visit the CMU Swartz Center website. Make a donation.
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Carnegie Mellon University Swartz Center For Entrepreneurship
5000 Forbes Avenue | Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

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