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Hillsborough Community College InLab@HCC “Launches” First Annual Patenthon in Collaboration with NASA’s Technology Transfer University Program


Tampa, Fla. Hillsborough Community College (HCC) will be hosting its first Patenthon, February 17-19, 2022.  The event will be held during the congressionally chartered National Entrepreneurship Week, February 12-19, 2022. The event links entrepreneurial and STEM-focused organizations with maker communities, entrepreneurs and students to accelerate innovation locally, regionally, nationally and globally and to build momentum towards STEM business creation with NASA's massive patent portfolio of existing market-ready technologies.

Presented by Hillsborough County, NASA’s T2U, RTI Innovation Advisors, Florida HiTech Corridor and the HCC Foundation, this event brings together those communities’ thought leaders and organizations advancing the cause of innovation and is the result of HCC becoming the first community college in Florida, and one of two in the country, to be selected to join NASA’s Technology Transfer University (T2U) program last summer.

The two-day event will feature an overview of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for identifying community-based challenges. Participants will select an SDG they would like to address, form teams, learn about design thinking and business modeling, and select a NASA-patented technology and create a new use application that addresses the SDG they have elected to solve. 

On the final day of the Patenthon, teams will pitch their new use application business model prototype before a group of judges for cash prizes. Teams that participate in the Patenthon may have access to the NASA inventor(s) and will have an opportunity to potentially license the technology at no cost for three years after forming a start-up business. This event is part of a series of InLab events that will help the Patenthon teams develop their businesses. Follow-up events includes the InLab’s 5th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Education Day (SEED) and the first annual Pitch for Purpose social entrepreneurship pitch competition on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Teams may also have an opportunity to potentially participate in a national conference in the fall of 2022, and down the road to present their businesses to NASA. 

In addition to HCC and NASA’s T2U team, the event will include RTI Innovation Advisors, the University of South Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor, the Tampa Hackerspace, SOFWERX, the University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Tampa and Pasco Hernando State College, among others.

“The spirit of innovation is deeply imbedded throughout our College, and having this unique opportunity to work in collaboration with NASA and other inventive organizations to host the Patenthon is a testament to that commitment,” according to HCC President Dr. Ken Atwater. 

Professor Beth Kerly, a full-time faculty member at HCC and the co-founder of the InLab@HCC, shared that "over the past several years, we have noticed an increasing number of entrepreneurship students seeking to start social entrepreneurial businesses. Marry the social focus with NASA's technologies just makes sense."


Hillsborough Community College serves over 42,000 students annually at its five campuses located throughout Tampa Bay. Hillsborough Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Hillsborough Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website

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