Q. SO WHAT IS THE TSAI CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE THINKING AT YALE ALL ABOUT?
A. Our mandate is to help Yale students be innovators and entrepreneurs -- collaborators across disciplines -- in any field of endeavor they undertake. We aim to give Yale students many ways to learn and hone skills and techniques of purposeful design and practical action by supporting the innovative process from initial idea to iterative development to thriving organization.
Our core commitments are to interdisciplinary collaboration, inclusion across every dimension of diversity, and the conviction that we can bring rigor and creativity to the processes by which students will innovate new approaches to real-world problems, and turn them into effective action.
Q. IF YOUR MISSION IS TO HELP YALE STUDENTS WITH BOTH INNOVATIVE THINKING AND EFFECTIVE DOING, WHY IS YOUR NAME JUST THE CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE THINKING AT YALE?
A. CITY is way punchier than CITEDY, no?
Q. AREN'T YOU WORRIED THAT "CITY" SOUNDS CONFUSINGLY LIKE AN URBAN STUDIES CENTER?
A. It's maybe a thing, but we're brand-new, and need to build a recognizable brand around Tsai CITY. It'll seem natural in short order.
Also, "the city" is a perfect metaphor for what Tsai CITY aims to be: Cities are diverse, dense hubs of energy and collaborative collision. Cities mix and blend people of every description, welcome immigrants and dissident thinkers, and spark up new industries. We hope there will emerge some parallels in the role Tsai CITY plays at Yale.
Q. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE YALE ENTREPRENEURIAL INSTITUTE? IS TSAI CITY JUST A REBRANDED VERSION OF YEI?
A. The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute did amazing work elevating entrepreneurship at Yale over the past decade. YEI's leadership remains with Yale's Office of Cooperative Research, focusing on advancing faculty-originated innovation and entrepreneurship.
Powered by Joseph Tsai's gift, Yale is launching the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale with a broader mission than the former YEI: to support student innovation and entrepreneurship in the form of for-profit startups, but also nonprofits, civic and community organizations, arts and cultural organizations, cooperatives, social justice movements, student clubs, faith-based organizations, and any other field of endeavor that interests and motivates them.
In short, Tsai CITY is itself a startup. We're building a new institution with a new, broader mission. Join up! Come help us design, experiment, test, operate, and evolve something excellent.
Q. I'M PART OF A STUDENT ORGANIZATION AND WE'RE LOOKING FOR SUPPORT FOR OUR UPCOMING EVENT. CAN YOU HELP?
A. CITY was literally designed to help students and student groups get their innovative endeavors off the ground! We'd love to hear more about what you are planning and provide support if it fits within our mission. Contact Abby Winslow to start the process.
Q. WHAT KIND OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU OFFER?
A. Lots! At the early stages, you can get $1,000 to help test your startup or nonprofit idea as part of our CITY Startup Accelerator and CITY Nonprofit Accelerator (once you're in, you can also pitch to win an additional $5,000.) If you're admitted into the CITY Summer Fellowship, you and your team will receive $15,000 to live in New Haven over the summer and work at our space on bringing your venture or nonprofit to life. You can also ask us for support around specific projects or initiatives you're looking to bring to the Yale community that fall within CITY's mission. Finally, we can help guide you on the many prizes and programs across the university where you can find funding, from Sabotka Seed Stage Grants ($10,000) to the Sabin Prize, Thorne Prize and Aetna Prize ($25,000) to Dorm Room Fund ($20,000). Want to know more? Talk to Cass Walker-Harvey: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND A MORE COMPLETE LIST OF ALL THE RESOURCES AT YALE FOR STUDENT INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS?
A. Glad you asked! We've got a new site that we're pretty proud of that's designed to help you navigate all the programs, prizes, workshops, classes, and organizations across the Yale ecosystem related to innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and design. Check it out: entrepreneurshipacrossyale.com And if you have any questions/feedback, email Brita at email@example.com.
Q. I'M INTERESTED IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP BUT DON'T NECESSARILY WANT TO START MY OWN VENTURE. HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
A. We welcome students of all backgrounds and interests to participate in our programs, develop new skills and lend existing skills to projects in development. If you're interested in learning how to think like an entrepreneur (even without becoming one) check out our Intensives on biotech, design thinking, gender equity and other professional skills. If you've already honed some skills in market research, tech, design and legal work, consider applying to become a Startup Advisor and helping a student startup get off the ground (and getting paid while doing it!).