student surveys her work written out on a white board

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) promotes entrepreneurial and innovator mindsets and is a thought-leader in entrepreneurship research.

Start, Launch, or Enhance Your Business

The CIE provides a unique opportunity for student entrepreneurs to get help starting or launching a new business, or to enhance an existing business idea.

Do you own a business already? Do you have a great concept or idea that you want to make a reality? Our goal at the CIE is to help you realize your personal goal, whether you’ve started a business or not. As long as you can articulate your idea and convey your vision—you’re an excellent candidate to get involved with the CIE.

As a participant in the CIE, we will help you answer three integral questions:

  1. Is it a good business idea?
  2. Is it a good business idea for you?
  3. Is it a good business idea for you, right now?

If the answers are yes, we can help you connect with a network of entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, and technical experts who have been where you are and can give you perspective on how to build your business, market your product, and expand your dream. You’ll receive valuable insight into the strategic, financial, legal, technical, operational, and managerial matters you’ll need to know.

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship prepares you for the intricacies of running your business.


The rest? That’s up to you.

Launch With Us

  • a student at a laptop looks at the camera
    Students: Launch Your Idea

    The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship is here to help students develop and grow their own business ideas.

  • President Hernandez listens to business leaders at Hula
    Partners: Work with Us

    The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship supports and is supported by a number of partners in the Burlington entrepreneurship ecosystem.

CIE Partners

Join the list of our past and current partners by sponsoring an CIE project! Here are just a few organizations that have collaborated with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and its students:

Events & Competitions

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship organizes and sponsors events that are relevant to entrepreneurially-minded students, including Launch Champlain and the Elevator Pitch.

  • Get Ready to Pitch!

    Champlain College’s Career Collaborative, Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and the Office of Institutional Advancement collaborate to present the Annual Elevator Pitch Competition held during spring semester. The contest invites participating students to give their 90-second “pitch” to an executive (dubbed the “suit”) as they ride together in a fictional elevator. There are three categories of competition:

    • Entrepreneurs/Game Developers
    • Job/Internship Seekers
    • Advocates

    The event is patterned on a national competition and teaches students the importance of presenting a “big idea” as succinctly and convincingly as possible. The competition is open to all years and majors. Support and coaching is available from about a dozen volunteer coaches─faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College.

    Why enter this year’s Elevator Pitch?

    1. To learn essential communications and networking skills.
    2. To gain self-confidence.
    3. Maybe win some serious CASH!
      • Three $500 first-place prizes
      • $2,700 total in cash prizes
    4. Students can fulfill an InSight Career à la Carte milestone.
    5. Have some FUN!

    Cash Incentives

    What’s the incentive—besides learning an important life skill? Quite simply it’s cash—$2,700 in all-with three $500 first prizes. Second and third-place prizes of $300 and $100 will also be awarded in each of the three pitch categories. Additional prizes of gift certificates to local restaurants are also up for grabs to contestants who earn the “audience favorite” vote.

    For further information about the Elevator Pitch Competition, contact:

  • Champlain College students with a business OR business idea (operating business is not necessary) may enter the Launch Champlain competition and present their business idea to a panel of judges. The winner(s) receive the opportunity to represent Champlain in the Generator and LaunchVT Jump/Start program, as well as cash prizes.

    Why compete in Launch Champlain?

    In addition to receiving financial support (with $3,000 in prize money available at this event), it’s a great way to sharpen your idea and learn how to pitch it effectively in order to raise capital and attract both talent and supporters. Mentoring is provided throughout the entire process.

    How do you compete?

    Competitors will have ten minutes to present their idea. Presentations should provide compelling answers to the following questions:

    • What is your business idea?
    • Does it solve a problem? For whom?
    • How does your business idea work?
    • How does it fit into today’s market?
    • What makes this idea unique from the competition?
    • How will you execute?
    • How do you plan to use the prize money to advance your business idea?

    I am interested. What’s next?

    To find out more or to enter Launch Champlain, contact Pat Patel, Program Director of CIE at

  • Jump/Start is a product-focused nine-week program designed to connect very early-stage makers with the resources they need to turn their product prototypes into market-ready businesses. JumpStart provides a comprehensive business development program, one-on-one expert mentoring, sophisticated prototyping tool-sets, technical training, free workspace, and more.

    Learn more about Jump/Start.

a marketing student shaking hands with a professional individual

contestants pose for a group photo at an elevator pitch competition

I’m developing a juice company, and the Elevator Pitch gave me the opportunity to present it. I explained my company in the best way I could in 90 seconds. That helped boost my self-esteem and gave me more confidence.
Prince Awhaitey
Prince Awhaitey, Finance Major

Get the Run-Down

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Basement, Ireland
Please email us to coordinate a date and time.