The MHM Blog

Highlighting the Entrepreneurial & Start-up Opportunities at UIUC

Posted September 21, 2023
Group of College Students in front of Computer

UIUC is an incredible school for those interested in entrepreneurial opportunities,  tech, and start-ups. Many of today’s best companies started in the brains of college students trying to change the world with their inventions. Located in middle Illinois, UIUC produces tons of students who follow their entrepreneurial dreams and start successful companies. 

This article will highlight some of the best opportunities to explore these spaces and UIUC and discuss their supportive ecosystem, cutting-edge research, and stories of students past that show just how incredible this school is for modern opportunities. 

UIUC Fostering Student’s Ideas & Research

UIUC is known for having incredible departments that specialize in fostering students’ ideas and beginning their careers in entrepreneurship. The supportive ecosystem UIUC provides helps its students grow into successful individuals after college. 

Research Park & Start-Up Tech Incubators

Research Park is a large collaborative environment provided by UIUC where people can access research needed for their efforts and connect and network with individuals who own and run successful start-ups and businesses or industry experts with all the know-how to help you start. According to, it “has more than 120 companies and growing, employing over 2,100 people in high-technology careers. At any given time, more than 800 student interns are gaining valuable experiential learning and work experience while making real contributions to internal corporate R&D and product development programs.”

There are a few more start-up and tech incubators on campus that can aid a student with an idea and an entrepreneurial itch. Enterprise Works is their tech incubator that provides support to students creating start-ups. This also gives students access to capital and internship opportunities to get their companies and ideas up and running. Enterprise works mainly focus on “agtech, biotechnology, chemical sciences, software development, materials sciences, and more” per 

Another popular program is the Iventure Accelerator, which lends early-stage entrepreneurs with start-up ideas mentorship and funding. UIUC likes to show its commitment to nurturing talent with this program and equipping its students with skills that can help transfer their business to the real world. 

If you don’t know where to start your entrepreneurial journey, UIUC also offers tons of courses that can help you get to know how to start a business, the factors that go into maintaining it, and even what your possible future industry is like based on the current market and economy. Start with classes like economics and market research and graduate to classes focusing on cultivating innovation, leadership, and creativity.  

UIUC Research & Patents

UIUC is known for having incredibly groundbreaking research that spans many fields of study. This dedication is a hallmark of how the school cares for its students pursuing an alternative career path in a slew of fields like tech, government, and logistics. The staff is known for being some of the best in the country – with people who have started companies teaching classes to continue the innovation. The faculty is a privilege to learn from and collaborate with them and the various other opportunities the school provides can lead to discoveries and ideas that might spawn into incredible businesses.

If you’re looking to go into a specific field, research centers are not in short supply on campus. According to, “UIUC’s vibrant research community is home to a number of research centers, institutes, programs, and initiatives. Our researchers translate insights on problems such as global sustainability, feeding the world, and fighting poverty and disease into innovative products and technologies, policy recommendations with impact, and advances in education and community engagement”. 

UIUC is also ranked among the top schools in the country when it comes to patents granted. If you’re an inventor, learning about patents could be one of the most important classes you can take. The university has committed to protecting intellectual property and can also give access of UIUC-owned property that could help students as they start. 

If all of the programs, incubators, research, patents, staff, and collaborative environments aren’t enough to convince you of the dedication and depth of the UIUC entrepreneurial programs, the success of some of their student companies might change your mind. 

Granular: Founded in 2014 by alumni, Granular is an agricultural company that helps farmers make data-based decisions having to do with the weather, planting seeds, what to plant, and more. The company was acquired by Corteva Agriscience, a division of DowDuPont, in 2017 for $300 million and paved the way for agricultural start-ups at UIUC. No matter what industry, UIUC has tons of research, innovation centers, and support to help students build the life and company of their dreams that help the world grow into a better place. 

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