Dr. Francesca Grippa‘s Project, “Reinvigorating Inclusive, Equitable Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IE^2) in New England” has helped Northeastern University be selected by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) as one of 25 schools to run a University Center to launch a Lab for Inclusive Entrepreneurship.
Providence (RI), Boston (MA) and Portland (ME) corridor was hit hard by COVID-19. The pandemic placed an enormous burden on businesses, such as minority- and women-owned small businesses (MWSBs), in the corridor. For instance, the greater Boston area became the third-worst metropolitan area in terms of small businesses’ lost revenue due to COVID-19. To address this issue, the proposed project aims to alleviate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on businesses and promote technological innovation and entrepreneurship by offering in-depth technical and managerial assistance through the establishment of a Northeastern Lab for Inclusive Entrepreneurship (NL4IE) and initiating the Inclusive, Equitable Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IE^2) Fellowship. Taking advantage of Northeastern University’s world-renowned innovative approach to hands-on learning through co-ops and internships, faculty and student teams will work collaboratively to solve various challenges faced by vulnerable businesses through its unique experiential learning (XN) framework. This framework allows teams of students and faculty to solve unprecedented problems through in-depth research and transdisciplinary approaches. In this regard, NL4IE seeks to provide underrepresented entrepreneurial students and/or impacted business owners with the IE^2 Fellowships to experience coaching/mentoring services and IE^2-related digital badges, which are micro-credential courses focused on specific skill sets. This project leverages the extensive Northeastern University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem (e.g., the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and the McCarthy(s) Venture Mentoring Network), centers/institutes (e.g., the Global Resilience Institute and the Center for Entrepreneurship Education) and other campuses in the region (e.g., Innovation Campus in Burlington, MA and the Roux Institute in Portland, ME).