By Frederick A. Provorny
The Center for New Technology Enterprise (“Center”) is an independent nonprofit educational organization established to use the most current technologies and trans-disciplinary instruction to give students real-world experience and simultaneously fill serious gaps in the methods used to bring new technologies to the marketplace. The Center provides a comprehensive program that uses teams of students from many disciplines to facilitate the development of new ventures and the jobs they create to bring to commercial fruition technologies invented at universities and other private and public research institutions. It also harnesses the talents and motivation of students from many disciplines to enhance their education by gaining intensive experience evaluating and finding applications for technologies and furnishing entrepreneurs with an extensive and diverse suite of services in conjunction with an extensive network of experienced volunteer professionals, serial entrepreneurs, executives and investors, and devises novel and innovative strategies to foster entrepreneurship among students of all ages, abilities and economic conditions. Finally, the Center offers a virtual venue for its diverse constituencies worldwide, such as incubators and tech transfer offices, to connect and share expertise, resources, best practices and other important information.
Employers, investors and others searching for talent place a premium on relevant experience. However, students, individuals seeks a change in their careers, and prospective entrepreneurs often find it difficult to obtain positions that can provide needed experience, even if they are willing to work without compensation. This “chicken and egg” conundrum often leads to people taking or staying in positions for which they have no passion and which do not make the best use of their abilities. The Center’s program is designed to provide extensive, intensive and relevant experience to its participants, with particular emphasis on teaching them to adapt to – and thrive in – our lightning fast, rapidly changing and increasingly “flat” world.
The centerpiece of the Center’s program is the trans-disciplinary experiential learning in which students engage. Students from a variety of disciplines and located almost anywhere work in teams to evaluate technologies from universities and private and government research facilities technically and commercially, find applications and identify entrepreneurs who would create new companies. New venture creation by the students is strongly encouraged. This extensive collaboration is possible because of technologies that empower people to work together simultaneously across time zones and with little regard to geography.
The Center‘s involvement in educating future entrepreneurs and professionals who can thrive in a fast-paced and ever changing business environment does not end with the assessment of a technology or the creation of a new venture. Student teams operating physically and virtually provide to qualified entrepreneurs and emerging companies an extensive array of business, legal, technical, regulatory, communications and other services. Given the advances in collaborative technologies, the Center can work closely with incubators and accelerators around the world and network them so that they can become aware of the activities, company mix and expertise of each other in real time introduce companies in multiple incubators with complementary technologies and business models, and share services and other resources. However, the Center also works with qualified entrepreneurs and emerging companies who seek its services even if they are not in incubators or accelerators.
The student teams are supervised and mentored not only by the Center’s staff but also by members of a growing multinational network of professional service providers in a multiplicity of disciplines, serial entrepreneurs, executives and investors, all of whom extend their services and expertise without charge. Students have an important role in deciding with which entrepreneurs and companies with which the Center will work. The students not only assist emerging companies but also gain experience in applying their education to solve complex and sophisticated challenges, become comfortable working with students and experts in other disciplines and locations, and enhance their personal competitiveness.
The Center’s relationships with research institutions and entrepreneurs are bared on the success of two highly acclaimed programs that the author directed in New York and Maryland, and numerous discussions over several years with university and federal technology transfer officials, research directors of multinational corporations, entrepreneurs, economic development experts and other stakeholders. The trans-disciplinary element arose from a course that the author co-taught at the Lally School of Management and Technology of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”). Teams of law students and MBA students with technical backgrounds found new applications for invention disclosures supplied by RPI’s Office of Technology Commercialization (“OTC”) and provided OTC with a road map to commercialization. Several student teams formed companies and licensed the technologies on which they were working from RPI. Among the alumni of the course is the Associate Director of Technology Transfer and Industrial Development at Syracuse University. The course later was offered for a full academic year and was required for first-year MBA students.
Enrollment in an academic institution is not required to participate as a student at the Center. Thus the Center welcomes postdocs and other researchers considering career options, lawyers, patent agents, MBAs and other professionals seeking a career change or real-world experience, and others who wish to obtain practical experience so that they may become involved in the technology sector or start their own technology-based businesses. These are examples of the types of non-traditional students we encourage to apply.
The Center’s program encompasses a robust international component, working with research institutions, incubators and accelerators, entrepreneurs and emerging companies, professionals, investors, and other organizations outside the United States that share its mission and goals. These individuals and entities will also be connected with the networks being created to manage and share the accumulated knowledge of the Center’s stakeholders.
It is critical that the Center be deeply engaged in creating a lasting infrastructure of entrepreneurs and professionals who are conversant with and prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that a worldwide knowledge-based economy will present. To this end, the Center plans to emphasize promoting entrepreneurship among undergraduates and younger students of all ages. The Center thus intends to collaborate closely with educators, school boards, economic development experts, organizations whose missions include inculcating a desire among young students to pursue careers in math, science and technology and those which encourage these students to learn basic business skills. Not only does the Center plan to assist in developing and implementing curricula, but also provide its services to young entrepreneurs with the objectives of nurturing their businesses and empowering them to derive commercial value from their inventions and discoveries.
The Center is undertaking an ambitious agenda, but one that is essential. The Center seeks to achieve a winning situation for everyone who participates, collaborates and sponsors its programs. Ultimately, ideas with substantial commercial potential can be converted into successful products and services that satisfy important societal needs. Giving students the experience they need by interacting with their colleagues in other disciplines will to hone the skills necessary to perform more effectively in whatever careers they choose. Finally, the Center’s educational programs and conferences accessible online will entertain untold numbers of viewers with useful information and access to resources that can be converted immediately into action. With its innovative methods of delivering knowledge and services and state-of-the-art systems of collaboration, the Center will be an important force in creating and nurturing the technology enterprises of the future.
If you have further inquiries, or are interested in using the Center’s services or discussing collaboration, you can do so directly from the “Contact Us” menu on the Center's web site or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Center looks forward to hearing from you soon.