Since 2007, with the support of the Kern Family Foundation, Villanova’s College of Engineering has been elevating engineering education by incorporating entrepreneurially minded learning (EML) principles into curricular and extra-curricular activities. By implementing the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) initiative, we have transformed the College’s culture, resulting in more creative, innovative and business savvy graduates.

Joe Zinno, Mechanical Engineering

“The Engineering Entrepreneurship minor provided an interdisciplinary entrepreneurial education and valuable networking opportunities, while the ICE Institute provided me the connections and funds to pursue a venture of my own.”

Joe Zinno
Mechanical Engineering

Francesca Stadtman, Chemical Engineering

“I learned that anyone can be an entrepreneur. It’s important not to suppress your creative mindset as you age, but instead to direct your creativity into new and innovative ideas.”

Francesca Stadtman
Chemical Engineering

Aldo Pierini, Civil Engineering

“Villanova is a place where ideas are celebrated; the different programs, faculty and staff are tremendous resources when it comes to turning entrepreneurial endeavors into a reality.”

Aldo Pierini
Civil Engineering

A leader among the dozens of KEEN partner institutions, Villanova Engineering has:

In addition to entrepreneurially minded learning in the classroom, the Engineering Entrepreneurship program hosts (or co-hosts with Villanova’s Institute for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship) several on-campus co-curricular entrepreneurial activities and competitions:

24 Hour Imagination Quest (24 Hr IQ):  This quick moving, time-sensitive entrepreneurship competition lends itself to working across colleges in multi-disciplinary teams.

Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC): A semester-long, interdisciplinary extracurricular entrepreneurship competition, VSEC is designed to give Villanova students the experience of innovating, creating and designing products, businesses and/or services to fill a variety of needs. Those who reach the final round work with outside judges and mentors to refine and enhance their ideas and then progress to deliver their final pitch to a boardroom of investors.

Pitch Day: Pitch Day features the finalists in the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), who compete for $10,000 in prizes in addition to invaluable feedback from mentors and advisors that can help advance their ideas. Pitch Day also includes REALtech where students work collaboratively over a 10-week period to develop modern tech solutions to these issues and a Virtual Reality Competition.

Android Hackathon: In the Android Hackathon, undergraduate and graduate students from engineering, computer science, and business compete in teams to develop an award-winning Android application within a 24-hour period.

Arduino Workshop and Hackathon: A workshop trains students in the use of the Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform and is followed a week later by an Arduino hackathon competition. 

Raspberry Pi Workshop and Hackathon: A workshop introduces students to Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive, single board computer that uses Linux. The following week, students compete in a Raspberry Pi hackathon putting their new-found knowledge to work. 

INNOVATE: The L3Harris Summer Program: A partnership program of the College and L3Harris Technologies, this competitive, self-directed engineering design program supports multidisciplinary student teams in developing and prototyping solutions to real-world problems of their choosing.

Dr. Lauri Olivier
Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship


Villanova Students Develop Innovative Solutions at First-Annual Health Hackathon Focused on COVID-19

Villanova Students Develop Innovative Solutions at First-Annual Health Hackathon Focused on COVID-19

Students from Engineering, Nursing, Business and Liberal Arts & Sciences competed in the three-day virtual event hosted by Villanova University’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute. In the process they learned design thinking frameworks, conducted design research, and built prototypes. Faculty from the schools and colleges shared expertise and experiences, providing guidance to the participants, who worked as teams in virtual breakout rooms.

Meyer ICE Student Grand Prize winner Aldo Pierini ’21 CE and Faculty Award winner Hasshi Sudler.

Engineers Take Top Awards on Pitch Day 2021

Though this year’s event took place virtually, the results of Pitch Day 2021 did not disappoint Villanova Engineers who took the top Meyer ICE Awards and were represented on winning teams in the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition.

Entrepreneurial Engineering Student’s Business Supports Campus Organizations

Entrepreneurial Engineering Student’s Business Supports Campus Organizations

Joseph Zinno, a rising senior in mechanical engineering, has spent the past two years nurturing his business venture, Rooted Designs, which sells engraved Villanova keychains, magnets, coasters and more. Rooted in the communities he is part of, Joe donates 20% of every sale to a Villanova charity chosen by the customer.