As my summer comes to a close, I can’t help but think what an amazing and overwhelming profound learning experience that I have been given this summer with the Technology Ventures Program. I don’t understand why more students aren’t banging down the door to be a part of this program.
For those of you who don’t know, Tech Ventures is a three-part course series that starts in the summer. During the summer semester, you learn how to write a business plan and how to work with venture capitalists and angel investors. You also learn how to navigate the FDA approval process for drugs and medical devices. At the end of the summer, you pick two of your classmates and form your business. Then, you and your partners either go to the Office of Technology Management and work with them to pick something to bring to market, or new this year we are working with Argonne Labs to license their technologies as well.
You and your teammates then spend the entire fall writing a business plan for your product and you present your product at the Concept to Venture (C2V) competition in December. In the final semester (spring), you go around the country and present you product at business plan competitions with the hopes of acquiring funding from winning competitions, as well as venture capitalists and angel investors. If all goes according to plan, you end up with a real business that goes far beyond this program. The worst case scenario involves your product and plan not being feasible, and you are left having had an amazing, world- class learning experience, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
Just recently, I have approached two of my classmates to form a team. These two men are people whose strengths compliment my own. They are also genuinely good people, I get good “vibes” from them. This was important to me because I will be working very closely with them for many, many hours every week. We have our eyes on working with one of Argonne’s technologies; there are a few that we are especially interested in.
In the eight years that this program has been implemented, there have been eight successful business that have formed out of this program. It's extremely exciting to get the chance to add my name to this list of successful ventures. While the odds are against me (as they are with any start-up), I am excited and optimistic for the opportunites that this program will bring.
My classmates and I feel that we are very blessed to have a good professor as well. Dr. Rod Shrader is a very knowledgable leader and has proven that he is willing to go above and beyond the usual requirements of a professor. I personally feel that he has advocated for us at every turn in the road and has been a tremendous mentor as well. I will update later on with my progress in this program. But for now, I am extremely grateful to be in this program and am immensely excited for the possibilities it will undoubtedly bring.
The UIC College of Business Administration and Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies host the annual Concept2Venture Business Plan Competition in December. For further information regarding C2V, visit: www.concept2venture.org.