Stacey Keefe appointed executive director of RvD IDEA
Stacey Keefe has been appointed the executive director of the Raymond von Dran Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (RvD IDEA). The RvD IDEA program promotes student startups at Syracuse University and includes the IDS minor and courses, the IDEA Student Sandbox, the RvD IDEA Awards and the IDEA Connectors student group.
Since 2008, the RvD IDEA (originally the “Syracuse Accelerator”), has provided support in the form of funding, mentors, coursework and coaching to more than 300 student ventures at SU, including BrandYourself.com, Grafighters, Rounded, Skill Addiction, PsyQic, Blue Arc Media, AmplifyU and SYRBAZAAR.
In 2012, the RvD IDEA launched the IDS minor to enable students to pursue a startup, regardless of their academic major. That same year, the RvD IDEA Sandbox was awarded the prestigious EDA University Center Award, the only such designation in New York State, by the Department of Commerce. In 2011, the RvD IDEA was awarded the Leavey Award for Excellence in Free Enterprise Education. The RvD IDEA Awards competition is the largest student venture competition in New York State, with more than $150,000 awarded annually to venture owners, and serves as the Central New York semifinals for the New York State Business Plan Competition in Albany.
To help student entrepreneurs network and connect with other student talent, IDEA hosts events such as Emerging Talk, Demo Day, Idea Jams and Entrepalooza throughout the year. IDEA Connectors, a group of students representing almost every school and college at SU, create cross-campus entrepreneurship connections and spread awareness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to all students.
Keefe has served as the executive director of Enitiative at SU, the Kauffman-sponsored University Center for Entrepreneurship, since 2007. Enitiative has funded 165 campus-community entrepreneurial ventures with assistance from 154 faculty and 260 community members to support business startups in the Near West Side, South Side and the Syracuse City School District. Enitiative has also provided support for veterans, those with disabilities, students and faculty at Syracuse University and five other colleges and universities in Central New York. Every year, around 7,500 students register for classes that include entrepreneurship education at SU.
Bruce Kingma, associate provost for entrepreneurship and innovation, says, “This appointment shows the University’s commitment to supporting student entrepreneurs. There is no one better to provide leadership to the student startup ecosystem than Stacey Keefe.”