WIN Bringing Together Students from Universities to Create Innovation Guide

The BCW has joined with BCW Member Iona University in New Rochelle and Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario to produce the Westchester Innovation Network (WIN) Implementation Guide, a roadmap for transforming Westchester County into a hotspot that attracts and nurtures innovative companies.

The guide, which will be released in mid-2023, is designed to serve as a resource for elected officials, business leaders and municipal planners who want to remove barriers and create incentives for attracting innovators.

“We could have hired a consultant to put together a set of recommendations that will go on a shelf and collect dust,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, the BCW’s President and CEO. “Instead, we have opted to work through the eyes of the next generation. This implementation guide will be a set of recommendations from future leaders with unique perspectives on developing successful communities geared for growth. That’s why we’re working with the students, both locally and internationally.”

This semester, students at Iona University’s Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation will map the innovation ecosystem in Westchester and conduct interviews with key stakeholders to examine Westchester County’s driving forces to accelerate innovation in our county. In the spring semester, the two groups of students will merge their findings and produce the WIN Implementation Guide, which is the third part of WIN’s multidimensional approach to transforming the county into a center for new ideas and businesses.

“It is great to partner with the BCW to help develop the WIN Implementation Guide,” said Dr. Christoph Winkler, Endowed Professor and Founding Program Director, Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona University. “Engaging our students in this project is another wonderful example of how our students learn outside the lines by actively supporting the development of our regional innovation ecosystem.”

Simultaneously, students at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario Canada are interviewing innovators to gather insights for the design of an ideal-world innovation hub. “We’re excited to be involved in this project,” said Laura Allan, faculty member in the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University and director, innovation and entrepreneurship for the university. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to gain an understanding of the needs of innovators and apply their learnings on an international level.”