There’s extra energy in the CDM hallways these days, and it comes from startup adrenaline. A couple of weeks from now, students that want to start their own companies will be pitching their business idea to a panel, and if they get green-lit they will work on their ideas for the next term or two. This is the pitch project route that the Master of Digital Media (MDM) program offers, and every year we see a large number of students veering toward it.
The MDM program is designed for people who want to make a mark in the digital media industry; and has a special track for entrepreneurs. The pitch project route serves as an incubator, giving students the time, resources, mentorship support and sometimes, even funds needed to get a venture off the ground. Speaking on the benefit of incubating a venture during the course of the MDM program, D’Arcy Smith, an MDM alumni and co-founder of the startup TerraTap Technologies Inc., creators of neartuit says, “As an entrepreneur, one has to think about risks. The entrepreneur track of the MDM is low risk – you get a Masters degree while working on your big idea.”
Smith met his collaborators Nahum Silva and Gwen Schwartz when they joined the MDM program together, and they apply many methodologies they learned in the program to their venture. neartuit is developing a proximity-based content management system for mobile phones, using iBeacon technology. The product required the collaboration of people from various disciplines, and also required a unified management process to streamline their work – skills that Smith, Silva, and Schwartz honed at the program. The neartuit team also applied rapid prototyping and iterative techniques that they learned to build their product.
Pavel Bains, entrepreneur-in-residence at the CDM, says startups benefit greatly from having the right advice and guidance from experts. The entrepreneurship track at the MDM seeks to provide that – through faculty, advisors, academics and industry veterans who provide knowledge and share their experience.
It’s an exciting time at the CDM, and we can’t wait to see which Next Big Thing comes out of our hallways!
Addtionally, neartuit just won the Gerri Sinclair Award for Innovation in Digital Media, an MDM Scholarship awarded to a student or group of students in the MDM Program who have created a digital media product or innovation that has great potential either as a commercial digital media product or an innovative methodology for creating digital media products.