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VentureOn has altered its format, borrowing aspects of English Premier League soccer.

VentureOn launches with new format, members

Professor brings change to venture support program

The University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship VentureOn program has officially launched its new format for the Fall 2017 semester. The program provides students working on startup ideas with resources, Venture Development Center access and support from successful entrepreneurial mentors. The program welcomes back many teams from last semester and also incorporates several new teams.

“It is a privilege to mentor and help these students,” said Vince DiFelice, a professor and the Manager of Venture Support. “The new VentureOn teams represent the University’s seven colleges emphasizing the cross college reach of Horn Entrepreneurship. And students, ranging from first semester freshman to postdoc, are engaged and excited about entrepreneurship. A few College of Engineering Fellows, who had joined us in our Summer Founders program, have continued their entrepreneurial growth and progress with VentureOn and it is quite special to see.”

With the new semester and new edition of VentureOn comes new ideas. DiFelice spent considerable time interviewing current and former VentureOn students to learn how they might change the program. A few of the changes center around creating a more tailored experience for the students stemming from an integrated focus on competition.

“Because of the rapid growth of VentureOn and Horn Entrepreneurship as a whole, it has become a little difficult to fully mentor every startup team,” said DiFelice with a chuckle. “I took some cues from the English professional soccer pyramid to maximize student opportunities and support through growth and competition. The tiered system of soccer clubs, using promotion and relegation, brings of a different edge compared to  the playoff system here in the United States, and I think it really lends itself well to the nature of VentureOn. Now there is a bit of competitive fire to grow and earn resources.”

Professional soccer teams in England do not have playoffs but instead accumulate points over a season of fixtures. The bottom three from the top division are relegated to the division below and replaced by the top three teams that have won promotion. DiFelice has now incorporated the system into VentureOn as a way to incentivize teams to grow.

“The new competitive focus is exciting and makes me even more invested in the program!” said Jarrett Bender, a chemical engineering major and co-founder of NotALot, a tech application for parking that connects commuters to long term parking spots. “I am really excited to move our project forward with VentureOn as the Summer Founders program really allowed us to make a lot of progress with all the help and support from Vince and other mentors. Summer Founders got us focused on the customer and customer relationships. The emphasis on customer discovery and talking to people has really helped guide our growth with NotALot and it has been amazing to step into this community.”

If you would like to learn more about NotALot, email Jarrett Bender.

About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.


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