GEOLaunch is a student-driven, geospatial and entrepreneurship incubator in the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University. The program is the product of collaborative efforts between SLU's Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship, the Taylor Geospatial Institute, Chaifetz School of Business and the School of Science and Engineering.
Participants work in interdisciplinary teams under the guidance of advisors to develop innovations applying geospatial insights to issues as broad as food and water security, climate change, economic development and inequity, and more. GEOLaunch's mission is to innovate through the engineering and design of creative solutions while also fostering a community of entrepreneurship and collaboration at SLU and other organizations in the greater St. Louis area.
The industry problem bank for GEOLaunch helps identify the issues affecting the geospatial industry. Following submission of a problem and/or research opportunity, the GEOLaunch executive team and CCE staff will evaluate the problem based on criteria including, but not limited to, solution feasibility, development timeline, potential legal complications, affected population size and marketability. Based on the results of this preliminary evaluation, the problem may become available for selection by GEOLaunch teams that express interest in developing a solution.
GEOLaunch is rooted in an innovative, student-led, interdisciplinary approach to solving problems in the geospatial industry. Team leads are chosen for their experience and abilities in leadership, teamwork, management, time management and interpersonal communication. Successful teams include students from all university campuses, inviting the perspectives of STEM and non-STEM students to collaborate on projects.
Team leads are the head of a GEOLaunch project. They are responsible for selecting a problem to pursue, recruiting team members, and leading the execution of deliverables for the cohort year. Team leads are typically upperclassmen who have participated in GEOLaunch previously as team members but neither of those things are required to become a team lead.
GEOLaunch seeks the best and brightest students from all disciplines and levels. Students are encouraged to sign up to be considered for a team and invited to participate in Launch Day to meet with team leads to see if a project/lead seems like the right fit for their interests and skill sets.
GEOLaunch advisors are the heart of the program. Advisors are SLU faculty, researchers, stakeholders and industry professionals with a keen interest in mentoring teams to navigate the program year. By leveraging their unique experiences, skill sets and networks, successful advisors have helped many teams overcome individual obstacles. Our advisors are mentors at heart and are dedicated to supporting great ideas and solutions.
Some responsibilities of advisors include:
- Participating at monthly design reviews to provide feedback to team leads on their project updates
- Attending GEOLaunch events, such as Launch Day and Demo Day
- Host workshops on specific topics such as engineering and prototyping, how to develop a pitch deck, and business forecasting