Midwest Universities Meet to Discuss Unique Challenges Faced in Engineering Entrepreneurship Programs

7/23/2015 Christine Olivo


For more information:
Jed Taylor
Technology Entrepreneur Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(217) 244-4035



Fourteen universities will be represented at the fifth annual Midwest Engineering Entrepreneurship Network (M.E.E.N.) conference this summer from July 22 to July 23. This year’s the event will be hosted by Purdue University at the Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The conference is open to all University administration, faculty and staff, and provides attendees the opportunity to share best practices and methods for overcoming issues faced in their prospective engineering entrepreneurship centers.

Topics to be discussed at this year’s conference include: A five minute overview from each university about the engineering entrepreneurship programs and their top challenges, presentations of best practices and how to increase participation of women in engineering entrepreneurship.

Matthew Lynall, host of this year’s M.E.E.N. event and director of experiential learning and management consulting at Purdue's Krannert School of Management, says he is most looking forward to the discussions on increasing participation of women in engineering and entrepreneurship.

“This is one issue that we are all working on,” Lynall said. “We have had some good feedback that this is an area where everyone is struggling to deal with, and want a decent solution.”


Lynall said Beth Bostwick, Bay Entrepreneur and Advocate for Women in Engineering Entrepreneurship, will be speaking at the event on Wednesday. There will also be a workshop on Thursday with take home strategies to make engineering and entrepreneurship more welcoming to women.


Other events to take place at the Midwest Engineering Entrepreneurship Network conference are a tour of Purdue University’s Birck Nanotechnology Center and an optional tour of the Purdue campus. Attendees will also go to “The Spirited Entrepreneur” event at the Nine Irish Brothers bar to meet and network with other Purdue and local West Lafayette entrepreneurs.

“We want to encourage everyone to make as many personal connections as possible,” Lynall said.

The 14 universities to be represented at this year’s conference include: Case Western Reserve University, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University of Akron, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Toledo and Wayne State University. This year’s meeting will also have 27 people in attendance.

The annual event began in 2011, when the Technology Entrepreneur Center at the University of Illinois and the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan recognized the value in establishing an organization that would provide a forum for networking and sharing advice for running engineering entrepreneurship centers. Since 2011, the conference has been held at the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and the University of Akron.

“In our fifth year, the attendance and enthusiasm about M.E.E.N. continues to increase. We are thrilled to have Purdue as a host this year and look forward to networking and having meaningful discussions that continue throughout the year,” stated Stephanie Larson of the Technology Entrepreneur Center.