Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy Expands UA SBRP Student Perspective

UA SBRP graduate student, Chris Grandlic, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science (advisor, Raina Maier) attended UC Davis’ Center for Entrepreneurship Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy (Entrepreneurship Academy), March 26 - 30, 2007 held in Incline Village, Nevada.

Utilizing the academic principles of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s technology management and entrepreneurship programs, the workshop is designed to increase the knowledge and skill base of graduate students, post-docs, and research faculty regarding:

  • Technology commercialization and new business development
  • Navigation of intellectual property and technology transfer
  • Development and validation of potential opportunities for commercialization
  • Integration of scientific research and entrepreneurship

Talk about your experience at the Entrepreneurship Academy.
Chris: I was part of a small group of 45 participants ranging from graduate students to professors from around the country. Due to my experiences at the Entrepreneurship Academy, I no longer see things from a purely basic research perspective. I now think about my current and future research projects from a component perspective, and how each piece of the solution fits together. By evaluating each component of a project, one can see what needs improvement or where you need additional information. I also developed networking skills, which are crucial for developing applicable solutions and commercialization.

What was your most memorable experience?
Chris: Group work. I got to work with a diverse group of professors from around the country, develop a project proposal (on hydrogen fuel cells) and present it to a group of investors for evaluation and critique. I met “Angel Investors” who invest for a living in small start-up businesses. Our project proposal was reviewed under the following conditions: 1) market interest; 2) competition; 3) technology strengths; 4) technology weakness and 5) how well the technology will succeed.

After this academy experience, what does technology transfer mean to you now?
Chris: Before I had a hard time imaging how to begin transferring technology into the field or market, but now I have a list of around 45 contacts that are like mentors and I can contact for advice. Due to the Entrepreneurship Academy, I have a network and a place to start.

What are the key ingredients to moving an effective scientific solution into the marketplace?
Chris: Networking!!  Developing a project plan with others and surrounding yourself with experts in the areas of interest. If you try to do this alone, you will not be as successful.

In three words, how would you describe the academy?
Chris: Beneficial, networking, and exhausting - in a good way!

Would you recommend this academy to others?
Chris: Yes. It [Entrepreneurship Academy] would be especially good for those in academia.

Do you think the UA SBRP should have something similar?
Chris: Yes. It would be helpful to have some sort of business/management seminar or colloquium series for the UA SBRP training core students.

For more information regarding the Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy, please visit http://entrepreneurship.ucdavis.edu/green/program.html