Startups for Smarties

Innovation Gateway offers education and service activities to support University of Georgia researchers who are interested in commercializing their academic research through a startup formation.

Although strong technology and intellectual property often form the foundation of profitable companies, commercial success cannot be realized without equally strong business strategies.

There are many legal, financial and organizational issues that each new start-up must consider during its formation, and Innovation Gateway offers guidance for UGA entrepreneurs through the Start-Ups for Smarties program.

Man wearing lab coat and business suit split down the middle. Startups for smarties

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Startups for Smarties: A Primer for the UGA Investigator on Forming a New Company Based on Your Research Discovery

Startup Stories and Lunch and Learns

Innovation Gateway promotes entrepreneurial ventures by connecting ideas, advice and people through monthly Startup Stories and Lunch and Learns, which provide a forum for experienced entrepreneurs, scientists, investors and service providers to exchange insights about how to create and cultivate new ventures. The monthly events provide excellent opportunities for networking with like-minded entrepreneurs and learning about practical and timely business issues.

See calendar for schedule.

Contact Stefan Schulze, sschulze@uga.edu, for information.

Why start a company?

Despite many popular beliefs, the most successful entrepreneurs are obsessed with opportunity rather than money, image, or appearances. This is particularly true for academic entrepreneurs who are typically motivated by the science that underlies their commercial ventures rather than the business aspects. While an increase in compensation and prestige may follow success for some entrepreneurs, it rarely is the source and driver for new ventures and even more rarely is it the key ingredient for success.

Academic entrepreneurs are motivated by a wide variety of goals and expectations, and there is no single correct reason for wanting to start your own company.
Reasons often cited by academic entrepreneurs for wanting to start their own venture include:

Maximum Impact. Successful academic entrepreneurs can often see the value of their own innovations more clearly than outsiders, and are inspired to start their own company in order to get “it” right. Existing companies may not have the vision to see the full potential of an early stage technology and may wish to pursue commercial paths that deviate from the inventor’s initial vision, or outside companies may choose not to license the technology at all. By launching a start-up company to pursue the commercialization of an invention, a scientist can often maximize the impact that that invention can have.

Market Demand. Scientists are often the first to recognize the market demand for their discoveries. If you are being approached by people asking, “how can I get one of those things?”, a significant market demand may exist for your product or technology. Where there is demand, there is opportunity.

Maximal Impact. The publication of peer-reviewed manuscripts is the general currency of academic achievement. However, journal articles reach a relatively limited audience, and a commercial venture may be the most effective way for a scientists work to achieve maximal direct impact.

Sideline Opportunity. If a small niche market exists for an innovative product or technology, it may be effectively leveraged as a supplement to a researcher’s academic salary and research.