RJI Student Competition Leads to Policy Change That Earns National Entrepreneurship Recognition

COLUMBIA, Mo – The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has recognized the University of Missouri System as a “Kauffman Commercialization Leader” and has awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student entrepreneurship. 

As part of the new grant, the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) will document the progress of student entrepreneurs, recording their efforts as they negotiate the various steps in the commercialization process. The resulting assembly of short video clips will be made available as a repository of digital learning objects, providing on-demand instruction for other aspiring student entrepreneurs.

"We know through our various RJI initiatives, that our students are powerful innovation instigators," says Keith Politte, manager of the RJI Technology Testing Center. "Our role is to enable them with thoughtful opportunities that allow their entrepreneurial instincts to catch fire.”

As part of RJI's 2008-2009 Student Competition, student teams developed iPhone applications, leading to discussions on student’s rights to intellectual property. With the assistance of RJI, the competition's winning team negotiated to retain ownership rights of their iPhone application, "NearBuy," which had achieved a top 10 business applications rating and maintained a top 20 ranking in the iPhone App Store. RJI-facilitated discussions ultimately helped lead to a change in the UM System policy on student ownership rights regarding intellectual property.

“The University of Missouri exhibits a strong commitment to bringing the innovations developed on campuses into the commercial marketplace, which benefits society and ultimately enhances economic growth,” said Carl J. Schramm, Kauffman Foundation president and CEO. “We are very pleased to recognize and support their efforts.” The grant also supports the MU Student Angel Capital Program, providing startup funding for student entrepreneurs and the Collaboration Leadership and Innovation for Missouri Business program (CLIMB). 

RJI will partner with Hearst Corporation, Adobe Systems, Sprint and Google for the launch of its fourth annual RJI Student Competition starting this month.

Kelly Peery
Communications Coordinator
Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute
573-882-9650

About the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute 
The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute engages media professionals, scholars and citizens in programs aimed at improving the practice and understanding of journalism. Part of the Missouri School of Journalism, RJI collaborates with citizens, news and technology companies, professional associations and foundations to generate and test innovative models and technologies for journalism and advertising. Six Donald W. Reynolds Fellows spend an academic year at RJI, working with Missouri faculty and students and RJI staff to develop new ways to gather, process and deliver news, information and advertising. RJI was launched in 2004 with an initial $31 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. In 2009, the Foundation awarded the Institute an additional $15 million for operating support. 

About The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed more than $100 million to its National Journalism Initiative in the United States.

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