Arizona State University (ASU) will launch a new Masters of Innovation and Venture Development (MSIVD) program this fall, the first program of its kind in the United States. 

The program is a partnership between the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, W.P. Carey School of Business and Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. It is funded by a gift from ASU alumnus Tom Prescott, former president and CEO and current director of Invisalign Technologies.

“Students will launch a new product or service in this program – it’s a graduation requirement,” says Brent Sebold, faculty-lead from the Fulton School of Engineering and a founding faculty of the program. 

“But the product or service our students launch can only be as meaningful as the problem they are trying to solve. We need the business community’s help to identify the critical issues facing us today,” Sebold added.

That’s why leaders of the MSIVD program are asking local and national business leaders to submit problems or pain points for consideration as possible venture opportunities.

Submissions of the critical issues facing the business community will be evaluated by MSIVD faculty and corporate advisors, then ranked and presented to the student teams. Each team will choose between their own ideas or an issue presented by business leaders as the challenge to solve with their venture. 

Business leaders can submit critical pain point issues by completing a short online questionnaire at no later than Fri., July 31.

Take on challenges that matter

“New challenges, unimaginable just a few months ago, are now top of mind. We’re asking leaders and exciting thinkers to share the challenges they’d like MSIVD teams to address – a pain point, a need, what they hope someone will invent to solve a problem,”

says Chery Heller, MSIVD program director.

Ambitious, bold, creative thinkers with an insatiable desire to start something that makes a difference in the world are the ideal candidates for the program, according to Heller.

“The ideas these teams work to solve can cover the full spectrum of challenges, from for-profit to non-profit, social ventures to digital innovation, local problems to international,” she added. “Students literally become entrepreneurs the first day they walk into the MSIVD program.”

Faculty from the three schools will co-teach classes and studios, interacting with each other and the student teams in a real-world start-up environment.  

“Different professions and disciplines have different ways of thinking about, approaching and tackling problems,” says Riva Drummond faculty-lead from the W.P. Carey School of Business. “The ability to communicate and lead across disciplines is a skill that will be required not only to land a great job, but to navigate the future.” 

Throughout the year-long program the graduate student ventures will be guided and mentored by experienced entrepreneurs and business executives and program advisors. Upon graduation, investors and venture capitalists will review each business for funding consideration.  

Anyone with any undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution can apply for the program.  

A limited number of scholarship opportunities will be available through the MSIVD program. 

All students are encouraged to use the ASU Scholarship Search to locate scholarships available to students. The MSIVD program also has a STEM designation, which activates expanded benefits for veterans, as well as scholarship programs structured to support students in STEM-related fields.

To learn more about the program or to apply, visit