A Holistic Approach To Teaching Engineering Entrepreneurship And Technology Commercialization

Vaidy Vaidyanathan, Carmo D'Cruz
2003 Annual Conference Proceedings   unpublished
With their creative product and technology ideas, engineers are excellent sources of high growthpotential entrepreneurial and technology commercialization ventures. However, this resource has not been effectively supported by academia in general, to fully realize its potential. This paper reviews contemporary literature on teaching of entrepreneurship and describes an innovative, holistic inter-disciplinary Engineering Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization approach backed by the
more » ... h backed by the resources and activities of a technology incubator, to provide engineering students and researchers with tools and opportunities for entrepreneurial success, establish deeper and more meaningful community ties, and facilitate the incubation of investable technology-based start-ups. Packaging the "incubator concept" into a series of graduate, undergraduate and continuing education short courses is a unique feature of this program, which offers practical insights, tools, objectives, case studies, strategies, mock negotiations and actions that one can apply to any stage of an entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial venture from initial idea to growth and profitability. The ever-pressing issue of funding is presented as a manageable hurdle and options to structure and develop the business to attract potential investors are presented. The critical roles of engineering, marketing, finance and management are clearly explained as the entrepreneur learns practical and leading-edge approaches to bring products to market and grow the organization. Technology commercialization projects, guest lectures and interaction / networking opportunities with successful or struggling technical entrepreneurs, corporate intrapreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, corporate technology managers, technology incubator directors, attorneys, financial advisors, consultants, etc are added benefits of this program. Attempts are also made to resolve/avoid IP issues that commonly impact university-industry partnerships. This program has received very favorable reviews from local, state and national organizations. Adam Smith (1723Smith ( -1790, who is commonly accepted as the father of free enterprise economics, used the standard terms of the times, that of "projectors and undertakers" to identify entrepreneurial individuals. 2 Unfortunately, the former term was often given to shady dealers and the latter was subsequently, and for no known reason given over to funeral directors. Smith's undertaker was a "mere capitalist" and while he was important as a decision maker in regard to the division of labor, he was ahead of his time in terms of identifying innovation, the use of capital and the division of labor (but not technology per se) and its dependency on the markets. Jean Baptiste Say (1767 -1832), who is particularly well known for his "law of markets" and "theory of production" visualized three components of the production process: human industry, capital and national agents. 3 He was the first in economic history to identify the value that is contributed to the system by the entrepreneur. Ludwig von Mises (1881-1972 was the first in modern times to come out foursquare in placing the entrepreneurs in the same rank as, if not more important than, the three classical agents of economics -land, capital and labor. 4
doi:10.18260/1-2--12612 fatcat:4eqen545hzesnmqhtme4ook6fy