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Global Incubation Academy

The Global Incubation Academy Charter

The Global Incubation AcademyTM (GIA) is a technology-oriented development platform that supports and connects business start-ups with accelerators and investors. Our mission is to collaborate with and guide start-ups in their preparation for initial or later stage funding while making maximum use of university resources, including industry-based professors, graduate-level student interns, a strategic location, and a network of Silicon Valley affiliates.

GIA Application

Global Incubation Academy

The Global Incubation Academy (GIA) is a leading development platform to support and connect startups with various accelerators and/or investors. We are inviting technology-oriented business ventures in the areas of HealthTech, IoT, Blockchain/Cybersecurity and Sustainability , which need help in developing a business plan or to polish their current one.

Once a startup is accepted into GIA by our selection committee, GIA will assign 3 to 4 graduate students to work with each start-up under the supervision of GIA’s technology and business advisors or other Silicon Valley professionals.

Our network of business startup experts include Silicon Valley professionals working in wireless and mobility, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital health products, Internet-connected devices, and environmental technology.



Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the ITU Global Incubation Academy is to nurture the development of startup business ventures preparing them for initial launch, seed funding, or a later series of infusion of capital. The incubator will also take on start-up companies who need to stabilize their operations through the adoption of better business practices. The new ventures pipeline will come from the local Silicon Valley community, the general San Francisco Bay Area, nationally, or from international origins.


The Global Incubation Academy (GIA) functions as the development platform that supports and connects early-stage business startups with investors and others interested in promoting business entrepreneurship with a technology focus.

Goals & Objectives

To prepare technology-oriented startups for initial or later-stage funding and provide venture capital funding groups and other investors with a new pipeline of businesses that present funding opportunities.


The ITU incubator will be guided using a co-managing director approach. The leadership positions will be held by the founding and managing directors, Tom Tafolla, J.D., and Nik Tehrani, PhD.

Tom Tafolla, JD

Tom Tafolla, JD

Tom Tafolla is currently Chair of the Engineering Management Department at the International Technological University (ITU), located in San Jose, California. He has been a part of the ITU family since August 2011 and is also one of the founders of the university’s Global Partners Accelerator in 2017, currently rebranded as Global Incubation Academy (GIA).

For more than two decades, his professional experience spans across various industries including computer manufacturing, printed circuit board test equipment, medical devices, laser systems, telecommunications, cellular phone systems, transdermal patch and other medical device manufacturing, genetic analysis and chemical reagent manufacturing, software development, semiconductor design and manufacturing equipment.

Most recently, from June 4, 2017 to August 8, 2018, Tafolla carried out his research at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tafolla earned his JD from the University of San Francisco and a BS from Santa Clara University.

Dr. Nik Tehrani

Dr. Nik Tehrani

Dr. Tehrani is Chair of the Education Committee of the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Northern California Chapter, as well as a member of the HIMSS Innovation and Technology Committee.

He has over 25 years of experience in business management, marketing, and supply chain development and implementation and 20 of those years as a high-level executive for various companies in Silicon Valley. He is currently Vice-President of Business Development and Marketing for DynoSense Corporation, one of the leaders in emerging advanced remote monitoring of health and preventive care solutions. Prior to DynoSense, he was President and CEO of Savitron, Inc., an Electronic Manufacturing Solution Company; Global Director of Program Management at Sanmina-SCI, a leading EMS provider; Managing Director and Founder of Majital Solutions, a marketing and engineering consulting company; and Vice- President of Marketing and Engineering of ACI, an Electronic Manufacturing Company.

As the author of two MBA textbooks, Contemporary Marketing Mix for the Digital Era and Understanding Green Business, he has translated these experiences into applied learning theories. He has published several peer-reviewed academic papers. Please see the publications page for details.

Dr. Nik Tehrani earned his PhD in Business Administration from Northcentral University, holds an MBA with a specialization in Executive Management from Pepperdine University and a BS in Electrical Engineering and has over 18 years of teaching experience as a lecturer and professor at various universities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Duties & Responsibilities

The GIA Managing Directors, upon review by the advisory board and the approval of ITU’s president, will select all new entrants to the university incubator program. The Managing Directors will jointly and independently be responsible for all day-to-day management of business startups accepted into the Global Incubation Academy. Furthermore, the co-directors will arrange for business management training for the selected ventures as needed, as well as mentoring or guidance in all areas required to sustain a business startup including legal, accounting, finance, marketing, business planning, strategy, product management, fund-raising, etc.

Advisory Board

The GIA Managing Directors will work closely with faculty members and the Advisory Board comprised of business financing experts or practitioners, entrepreneurs, corporate representatives, business or technical specialists, and other industry or social leaders as will be beneficial to the guidance and grooming of business startup participants in the ITU Global Incubation Academy.


  • Assistance in identifying sustainable business opportunities
  • Preparation for funding and identification of funding sources
  • Business counseling
  • Workspace


Did you know?

Many startups fail within 3 years of formation either because of poor planning, incompetence, or overspending on their budgets. Identifying a viable business opportunity and business model is critical to establishing a sustainable business.

GIA helps startups better define their ideas using a problem solution approach. Your team provides the problem for us to address and our team of graduate students conducts market research and analysis to provide insight on the growth potential of your company and other risk factors, prior to developing and defining your startup’s mission, vision, and goals.

You need a business plan to be a successful startup company. Your business plan defines your startup and serves as your company’s guiding light. Our GIA business consultants will help you outline your business life cycle, develop the mission, vision, and goals and establish key milestones and long term growth strategies to help you take your business to the next level.