TCC Startup: learn about the initiative that turns term papers into startups

During graduation, a student needs approximately two years of work to develop a final thesis or a term paper. In masters and doctorate programs, the dedication can be even longer. But, what happens to all that knowledge produced in universities?

In general, it is bound and goes straight to the libraries’ shelves. “For me, it did not make sense that that happened, that so many good ideas were not put into practice,” explains Professor Geraldo Campos in an article published on Endeavor’s website.

Thinking about how he could use the terms to foster the entrepreneurial culture within the institutions, Geraldo – a professor at UniSul – created TCC Startup.

How does TCC Startup work

The first TCC Startup model was created in 2015 as a prototype with the purpose to have students answering the term’s problem by developing a business model for a product or service. After the second stage of the process, prototyping, students who wish to continue their work have the help of iLab, the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship laboratory, for experimentation, market validation, practical business structuring – such as team building and company registration – and the final stage, of gaining market gaining and scaling the product.

In 2016, the initiative was also taken to UniSul masters and doctorate programs  in order to transform theses, dissertations and research into products that can be commercialized. In the case of the master’s degree, a discipline called Innovation Management and Impact Business Development was created, where TCC Startup is applied. “These people complain that when they leave university, they need to commercialize research in some way and they don’t know how. They saw in TCC Startup a tool for that, ”adds Geraldo.

One example is the master’s project of an Environmental Sciences student who developed acoustic plates using a flame-retardant polymer with a special aesthetic finish, to be used in concert halls, avoiding accidents such as the Kiss club in 2013. “ Projects become much more than a diploma, but life projects, ”says the professor.

Entrepreneurial community inside the university

TCC Startup has fostered around 60 projects developed by UniSul students since its creation, contributing to inserting these students in the job market and reinforcing the entrepreneurial culture within the university itself.

The works are done simultaneously with academic research. What changes is the way they are conducted and the way teachers work with students. Therefore, the faculty are trained for the institution’s continuing education program and receive follow-up through a kind of a coaching program while working with students.

In addition to traditional academic guidance, attendees also have access to mentoring with an ‘inspiring mentor’ who shares their experiences through lectures and events; a “market mentor”, a market teacher, and a “technical mentor”, a professional who assists with technical issues that may come up throughout the startup foundation.

Check out the video of Professor Geraldo Campos about the initiative, awarded in 2016 at the Entrepreneurial Education Award. Learn more about the TCC Startup steps and the support activities offered:

To learn more about transforming graduate projects into entrepreneurship initiatives, check out this post on the subject.

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