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Vertex Innovation Program

The Vertex Innovation Fellows Program combines the technological, business and market expertise of Vertex with the commercialization skills of the Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship, the deep knowledge of innovation strategy of the Charles D. Close School faculty and the burgeoning talent of Drexel University students. This twelve-month program is designed to source pioneering ideas from the Drexel student body that pertain to critical Vertex focus areas; to incubate selected idea(s) with a combined Vertex and Drexel student team; and to assess the feasibility and suitability of the idea(s) that come out of the incubation phase for inclusion in the Vertex Innovation Lab.

Students applying can be on either co-op cycle. Ideally, this will be their final co-op, as there is a chance of employment at the end of this program.


The program is split into four phases. The first phase is the application process where student teams will submit their applications to the program. Applications will be judged on how effectively the proposed solution reduces friction in global commerce and regulatory compliance. As a global tax management solution company for enterprise businesses, Vertex will find more value in teams that propose plans related to their industry. Vertex will evaluate and select the most promising idea/business with the winner advancing to Phase II. Vertex will have the option to select none, one or multiple winners.


Those who are selected to continue to phase two will become integrated in the Vertex Innovation Labs ecosystem. During this next three month period, students will work with experts in the Innovation Labs as well as receive mentoring from Charles D. Close School entrepreneurship mentors. In addition to receiving hands on experiential learning from industry leading experts, students will also earn a professional non-credit certificate. This course will cover modern business model development within corporations, the future of technologies as it relates to the Vertex business, and on the markets and competition in which Vertex is embedded.


Student team members who complete the professional certificate will be invited to apply for a Vertex independent corporate entrepreneurship co-op through the Steinbright Career Development Center. The next phase provides time and space for the Vertex and Drexel student team to develop their ideas from Phase I and II. Student teams will work out of the Vertex Innovation Labs in King of Prussia for 6 months. By the end of this phase, teams should have their idea developed into a full-fledged business initiative with prototype, business model and feasibility assessment.


The final phase of this program is to prepare the team to present their work and findings to an Incubation Board, consisting of select members from Vertex Inc’s senior management. The Incubation Board will review the efforts to-date, identify the business model opportunity, review the technical requirements and discuss the proposed sales channel strategy.

An outcome from this presentation and subsequent follow-up meetings could be a go/no-go decision by Vertex to proceed with the project. Although students who satisfactorily complete the Co-Op may be invited to apply for Vertex employment. Vertex makes no commitment that any student will be offered employment or employed.

To learn more about the application process and how to apply, please contact Damian Salas.

View team eligibility rules and guidelines here.


Associates at Vertex will be at Startup Fest to meet students and applicants. This is a great time to introduce yourself and learn more about Vertex. In addition to Startup Fest, there are two information sessions with Vertex associates that take place in the Baiada Institute. These are excellent opportunities to review your application with associates from Vertex.

  • Nov 14 - Vertex at Startup Fest
  • Nov 19 - Information Session with Vertex
  • Nov 21 - Information Session with Vertex
  • Dec 5 - Application Deadline
  • Dec 7 - Finalists Annouced
  • Dec 9- Finalists Pitch to Vertex Panel at Drexel
  • Dec 11 - Winners Announced

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my co-op cycle matter? Or is this program year long?
This program is not specific to fall-winter or spring-summer co-op cycles. Any student on a fall-winter or spring-summer co-op cycle can apply for this program.

Is this the same as the Vertex Co-op listed on SCDC’s job listings?
No - this is an independent co-op and can only be assigned through your co-op advisor. Due to the selection process and placement within Vertex, this is not considered an average co-op.

Will my academic standing be taken into account?
As long as you are on good terms with the university, a low GPA does not hinder your chances of being accepted. If you are on academic probation, or at risk of being academically dismissed you will not be able to apply.

Are there opportunities to talk with Vertex?
Yes, there are three opportunities to speak with an associate at Vertex. During Startup Fest, Vertex will have a table and will be speaking about this independent corporate entrepreneurship co-op opportunity. They will also host office hours in the Baiada Institute during 2 information sessions, Nov 19 and Nov 21.

How many teams are usually accepted?
Vertex will usually select 3-4 students or teams per selection.

I have no idea where to start, but really want to apply. Help!
Don’t worry, we understand this is an intensive process. To help you get started, we recommend visiting the on-campus Vertex office hours. Visit StartupTree for more information on upcoming office hours.
Another great place to start is to speak with your co-op advisor, or ask Damian Salas your questions about this program. SCDC and the Close School are committed to seeing you succeed in this endeavor - so don’t hesitate to reach out!

This is a lot to digest - can you give me an elevator pitch for this?
This is the ultimate entrepreneurship experience in leading a startup, with an ultimate path that can lead to a career as a corporate entrepreneur.