Sign up for Intelligence ++ a new inclusive entrepreneurship program with mentoring by a top global entrepreneur

Two design professionals
Gianfranco Zaccai and Don Carr

Now is the time to sign up for a new interdisciplinary inclusive entrepreneurship program being offered for the 2020-21 academic year in a partnership of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries, the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education (InclusiveU) and the  College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).  The program launched with a generous donation by Gianfranco Zaccai ’70 H’09 and the Zaccai Foundation for Augmented Intelligence (Intelligence++). It will provide new courses open for fall enrollment and will culminate in a design and entrepreneurship competition with $30,000 in prizes.  Sign up now for DES 400-600, taught by Don Carr, professor in VPA’s School of Design with Gianfranco Zaccai, a renowned global innovator and designer, serving as a mentor and guest lecturer for the course. Zaccai was co-founder of Continuum, now EPAM Continuum, a global innovation by design consultancy with offices in Boston, Milan, Seoul and Shanghai.

With an emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative innovation, the two-semester program is available as an elective to both undergraduate and graduate students from any school or college at Syracuse University, including students with intellectual disability from InclusiveU. It will be taught in the LaunchPad at Bird Library.

This flagship program is made possible through the support of the Zaccai Foundation for Augmented Intelligence, founded by Gianfranco Zaccai. The Zaccai Foundation seeks to develop, stimulate and leverage technological, educational and organizational innovation to enable and empower individuals with intellectual disability, their families and their communities to improve quality of life, enhance independence and productivity, lower cost and benefit society.

“I am confident that this program will be revolutionary in stimulating brilliant students, educators, and researchers to deeply explore and meaningfully innovate a better future,” Zaccai says.  “We have an opportunity to blend in-context research, people-centered design, and the strengths and skills of diverse people and disciplines in a way that can change the world for the better for people of all abilities and talents. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Syracuse University—we see the potential that a cross-disciplinary, multi-dimensional, innovative approach can bring to our society, and we want to propel young people to be at the forefront of developing real-world solutions.”

Concepts developed throughout the course will be presented to a panel of experts in a culminating competition in spring 2021, with $30,000 in seed funding awarded to the most promising ideas for further development.

The program was developed with the support of Quinn King ’20, founder of MedUX and a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor at the LaunchPad. King had a keen interest in working on the project as a student founder with a design company that focuses on user experience and because he has a close family member with an intellectual disability.

For more information about the program, contact Don Carr at, Beth Myers at or Linda Dickerson Hartsock at