The University of Central Florida – recognized for creating one of the best innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the country by Entrepreneur Magazine – is one of two universities in Florida and 155 nationwide that have agreed to empower Americans and encourage a transition from “consumers” to “producers.”

Known as the “Maker Movement,” the effort is spearheaded by a new White House initiative that promotes innovation and celebrates the nation’s makers, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Today’s National Day of Making is being celebrated with the inaugural White House Maker Faire that showcases makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of all ages across America who bring their ideas to life using cutting-technologies such as 3D printers, scanners, computer-aided design software, laser cutters, and computer-controlled machine tools.

As a designated Maker University, UCF is committed to:

  • Investing in Makerspaces that are accessible to students across the campus;
  • Supporting research that advances making technologies and facilitating greater access to Making experiences, such as the development of new tools for desktop manufacturing;
  • Expanding access to university shared facilities and scientific instrumentation to student Makers;
  • Encouraging students to use senior design projects to experiment with Making and Maker-preneurship;
  • UCF Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE)

    As the second largest university in the country with more than 60,000 students, UCF has leveraged its resources to create the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE), consolidating its major innovation and entrepreneurship programs and initiatives deployed by the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), College of Business Administration (COBA) and the Office of Research and Commercialization (ORC).

    UCF will play a role in encouraging more Maker capabilities for students in the U.S. by creating spaces and access to opportunities that foster innovation, with tools and expertise that can quickly and inexpensively help the next generation of entrepreneurs and inventors.

    “As a key part of CIE, the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, in collaboration with COBA and ORC, is creating a better Maker environment for everyone,” said Michael Georgiopoulos, CECS dean. “Our planned Makerspaces are designed to engage students early in their college experience and help transform their creative ideas into tangible prototypes or products as they progress towards fulfilling their entrepreneurial ambitions.”

    UCF Engineering Leadership & Innovation Institute

    A key initiative in the Maker Movement is the UCF Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute, led by CECS and supported by numerous industry partners.

    The institute offers lifelong engagement to support and cultivate engineering and computer science students at every level (undergraduates, new professionals, mid-level managers and executives). In support of entrepreneurship and the Maker Movement, CECS and the institute are now building various dedicated laboratories that will stimulate innovative ideas, foster creativity, and enable the building and manufacturing of prototypes.

    UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

    Established by the UCF College of Business, the CEL offers a wide range of opportunities for students to enhance their entrepreneurial capacity, including courses, advising, online resources, clubs, competitions, facilities, and connections to experts and supporters throughout the region. Founding entrepreneurs can leverage a focused education in the Lean Start-up Approach, and new spaces, such as:

  • StarterLab – an inviting, 1,500 square-foot environment where emerging innovators and entrepreneurs — known as “starters” — enjoy a comfortable, open space to develop, explore and collaborate ideas with peers;
  • UCF UpStarts – a student accelerator offers space where students can brainstorm innovations and ideas with others.
  • UCF enables success by helping entrepreneurs refine their business models, create tangible products and engage customers through a variety of programs and resources, including:

  • UCF Blackstone LaunchPad – providing students with a network of venture coaches and entrepreneurial support to transform ideas into viable companies;
  • UCF Office of Tech Transfer – bringing UCF discoveries to the marketplace through intellectual property protection, marketing and licensing processes; connects UCF researchers and their innovations with companies and entrepreneurs to take the technology to market;
  • UCF Venture Accelerator – offering a place for technology entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas and intellectual property into business plans with high growth potential;
  • UCF Business Incubation Program – providing emerging enterprises and those businesses seeking to expand, with a strategic path, vital business development services and resources, and on-going guidance, motivation and support individually tailored to help take companies to the next level;
  • Small Business Development Center at UCF – delivering business seminars and free one-on-one business counseling for small business owners;
  • GrowFL – provides strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth.
  • “By creating more access to entrepreneurial resources, UCF hopes to promote growth in entrepreneurship, enable the growth of higher paying jobs, and create economic growth and prosperity in Central Florida region,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president, UCF Office of Research and Commercialization and lead researcher for CIE.

    Read more about the national Day of Making and the White House Maker Faire at and stay in touch with national efforts on Twitter: #NationOfMakers.