McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation



McNeil Center For Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Interested in Innov8x Studio and want to know more. Just provide us with your name and email and we’ll contact you.

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Immerse yourself in a collaborative environment of like-minded entrepreneurial innovators.  


The Mines Innovate Studio is an intensive summer residency program for project teams to develop innovative solutions to opportunities, challenges or problems they have identified in a market or in their own organization – to launch their startup or innovation initiative and gain traction. Innovate Studio is designed to:

  • Support participants’ innovation initiatives and projects following coursework.
  • Offer students opportunities to gain practical experience and develop a portfolio of deliverables
  • Incubate promising solutions to problems with meaningful societal impact
  • Be more innovative and entrepreneurial, especially in the use of our resources
  • Sharpen your entrepreneurial (startup) and intrapreneurial (within an established organization) skills. 

 The focus of the program is to enable participants to develop the skills to solve important problems – in the community, in your company or in government – and apply your exceptional engineering and technical skills to develop innovative solutions.

Unlike many programs, this is not exclusively geared to entrepreneurs who want to immediately start a company (although perhaps they will in the future).  Instead, this unique approach starts with an emphasis on investigating the problem, a step overlooked by many well intentioned startup founders and innovators who fall in love with their solution prior to validating the need for the proposed solution.

Once the challenge or problem and its contextual constraints are fully understood – which means an initial problem may be re-defined, that a different problem is more important, or that the original problem is fiction – participants unleash their considerable intellectual and STEM horsepower on quickly developing an innovative solution, which also requires extensive beneficiary validation, with real-time iterations based on market feedback.

 This entrepreneurial mindset and creative skill set will help you contribute to solving the most challenging and important problems in any organization – or moving on to start your own venture!


Unlike traditional university-based entrepreneurship programs, the Mines Innovate Studio is unique in the following ways:

  • The studio setting emphasizes a learning-by-doing approach based on our proven pedagogy.
  • Support for reality-based simulations for objective-driven hypotheses testing
  • Access to Mines’ maker space and various shops
  • Access to world-class Mines faculty and accomplished mentors and alumni. Each team interacts with multiple mentors and advisors.
  • Learn practical entrepreneurial and innovation skills while applying those skills to two different types of projects in parallel: a startup and an organizational problem
    • Advance your startup or join one and accelerate its progress.
    • Develop a solution for a challenging corporate/government or non-profit problem
    • The contrasting tracks afford invaluable learning opportunities. Our graduates can innovate in any setting.
  • No boring lectures, meetings or mind-numbing activities
  • Gain exposure to job and internship opportunities in addition to great networking opportunities
  • Housing and meals on campus 
  • Co-working space at the interim Venture Center 


Dr. Sid Saleh

McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Economics & Business

Studio advisor

Dr. Werner Kuhr

Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Summer 2022 Course Information

Lab Title: EBGN 598/498 Innovate X (a Mines Engineering & Technology Management Masters elective).

Instructor: Dr. Sid Saleh

Advisors: Dr. Werner Kuhr, Bud Rockhill, Dr. Sebnem Düzgun

Date: Summer 2022.

Enroll: on Trailhead or contact Dr. Sid Saleh

Eligibility - Students
  • Currently enrolled graduate and undergraduate Mines students who have completed any of the following entrepreneurship and innovation courses:
    • EBGN 360 Introduction to Entrepreneurship
    • EBGN 576 Managing and Marketing New Product Developments
    • EBGN 598/498 Innovate X (Defense, EMx, etc.)
  • Currently enrolled graduate and undergraduate students from accredited higher education institutions who have completed equivalent entrepreneurship and innovation courses (must apply).
  • Any and all majors are encouraged to participate
  • For-profit and non-profit innovation initiatives are welcomed
Eligibility - Participating Organizations
    • Organizations apply to submit innovative projects
      • Non-directed projects – i.e. project sponsor is not a paying client
      • Provide formal mentoring education opportunities for promising leaders who can spend time learning how to mentor others


Dates and Enrollment
  • November 30: Application period opens
  • December 30: Application deadline
  • Early January: Selected teams and individuals contacted for interviews
  • January 19 – 29: Team interviews
  • February 19: Offers extended
  • February 26: Team acceptance deadline
  • February 26: Organizational projects acceptance deadline
  • March 15: All team members must be identified
  • June 21: Teams move-in
  • June 28: Innovate Studio Kick-Off
  • August 13: Teams move-out
Housing and Meal Information

Summer Studio dates are the Mines Summer Session II dates which generally start late June and end around the first week of August.  Please visit Mines housing and dining scholarship information  HERE

Please visit Mines summer housing information  HERE

Course Advisors and Sponsors

To submit a problem, learn more  HERE

Summer 2022 Advisors: TBD

Summer 2021 Advisors:

Dr. Werner Kuhr, Director, McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Mines
Lee dePalo, Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VIII
Daniel Green, Resilience Analyst, FEMA Region VIII
Kaitlin Marshall, Public Assistance Program Analyst, FEMA Region VIII
Conor McClintock, Regional Innovation Officer, FEMA Region VIII
Stefanie Tompkins, Vice President, Research and Technology Transfer, Mines
Will Vaughan, Director, Technology Transfer, Mines
Dr. Mark Neal, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Humanities and Social Sciences, Khalifa University
Sara Mneimne, Senior Student Affairs Officer, Khalifa University
Rodney Marcy, Senior Executive, Consultant and Serial Entrepreneur
Bill Quinn, Director of Customer Experience and IoT Solutions and Center of Excellence Leader, Tata Consultancy Services
Michael Gallup, Independent Consultant and Investor
Todd McLean, President, BOK Financial Insurance
Dr. Mik Bertolli, Chief Science Officer, Avrio Analytics
Addy Bateman, Program Associate, Uncharted


If you would like more information, please email your questions to Dr. Sid Saleh.

Opportunities, Challenges or Problems

Are you aware of a community or business problem you would like to solve in this course with a team of students?

Bring it to class! As a participant, you have a unique percpective on problems in our communities. This class was created to help students become agents of change and to make a difference in someone’s life. ​We welcome participants from any accredited higher education institution worldwide.

Can I suggest a problem I am passionate about?

Yes. Please email your suggested problem and/or its symptoms to Dr. Sid Saleh.

Do I have to be a US citizen to take this class? ​

No, all nationalities are welcome.

Do I have to have previous experience with entrepreneurship or innovation? ​

No prior experience is required. However, you must have a foundational understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset and creative problem solving. This is accomplished by taking one of our Mines entrepreneurship and innovation courses or equivalent courses at other institutions.

How do I find teams?

Please add yourself by filling out the team formation form. Also, make sure to go to virtual information sessions that are offered from time to time. The instructor will help match individual participants to teams. You are more than welcome to invite friends or colleagues who share your passion. ​ ​

Do I have to choose an problem that a sponsor is providing?  ​

No. You can come up with your own problem and teaching team will strive to find an industry sponsor.

What if I want to propose an idea I have to an organization or government agency? ​ ​

Contact the teaching team and we will do our best to connect you with a potential sponsor.


Who owns the intellectual property that may be developed in this Studio?

If you’re working with a Mines related-technology (i.e. either research from one of the team members or University IP), you must check with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to understand Mines ownership rights in any resulting IP.  You own the Intellectual Property (patents, hardware, algorithms, etc.) you brought to class/lab with you. No one (other than Mines potentially) has claim to anything you brought to class.

Will my Intellectual Property rights be protected when I discuss my ideas with the class?

This is an open class. There are no non-disclosures. At times you will learn from other teams. Keep in mind that successful innovative ideas are less about the original idea and more about the learning, discovery and execution/iteration. (That’s the purpose of this studio and all of our courses.) Therefore you must be prepared to share your ideas openly with the class. It is a forum for you to “bounce” your ideas off your peers.


What kind of support will our team have?

The teaching team consists of the lead professor, other faculty, experienced alumni, and industry mentors. A mentor is an experienced investor, consultant or faculty assigned to your team. They’ve volunteered to help your team because they love hard problems. Their job is to guide you as you get out of the building and to interface effectively with your beneficiaries.

How often can we/should we meet with our sponsors and mentors?

Your mentors are expecting to meet with you at least every week face-to-face or online. You can email them or meet with them more often if they have time.

Can I talk to a mentor not assigned to my team?

We do not assign mentors to teams. No one mentor has enough knowledge or expertise to address all your needs over time. Besides, you need multiple perspectives on any issue. At Mines, we implement collaborative mentoring. This means you will be mentored by multiple experts.

I have a busy schedule and my mentor can’t meet when I want them to. Can you do something about it?

Mentors have day jobs. Asking them to meet or reply to you ASAP is not acceptable. So plan ahead to allow for a reasonable amount of time for a reply or meeting. Be concise with your request and be respectful of their time.

I need help now.

You first stop is your teammates. Otherwise, email your instructors.


What roles are in each team? ​

Traditionally, each team member is part of the “customer development team”. You have to figure out how to allocate the work.

What if my team becomes dysfunctional?

Prepare to work through difficult issues. If the situation continues, approach the teaching team. Do not wait until the end of the semester to raise the issue.

What if one of my teammates is not “pulling his/her weight”?

Try to resolve it within your team. If the situation continues longer than a week, please approach the teaching team. Final grades will also reflect individual participation and contribution.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

Continual feedback weekly. Substandard quality work will be immediately brought to your attention