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Innovations receiving funding at North Carolina State University include two projects with healthcare applications: work on a new Salmonella vaccine and wound-healing bandages.
Vic Verma joined Savi Technology in 1990. He previously held the positions of vice president of engineering and chief operating officer at Savi, before becoming president and chief executive officer in 1997. As VP of
Engineering, Vic helped design and develop Savi's product offerings, and as COO, he helped negotiate the acquisition of Savi by Texas Instruments in 1995. In 1997, the unit was sold to Raytheon. Vic led the management buyout of Savi from
Raytheon in May 1999. He earned a B.S. degree from the Florida Institute of Technology, an M.S.E. degree from the University of Michigan, and an Advanced Engineers degree from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering. He also
completed all the coursework and passed the qualifying exam for his Ph.D. candidacy in electrical engineering from Stanford University before leaving to join Savi. In addition, he attended the executive management program for CEOs at
Harvard Business School, the AEA Executive Institute at Stanford University, and the Financial Management Program at the University of California-Berkeley. Vic has been granted eight patents and has several other patents pending. In 1994,
his DF/Tag product was recognized as the "Most Innovative Technology Developed by a Small Business" by the White House Office of Science and Technology. In 1999, he was the recipient of Florida Institute of Technology's Distinguished
Turner is a producer at Electronic Arts specializing in action-hero titles. She is working on her second James Bond game and recently completed production on the Gameboy Advance version for release this November. Turner
joined EA from another area of entertainment and technology: digital music. In 1999 she co-founded and led Gigabeat, a Kleiner Perkins company. Gigabeat provided music personalization and delivery technology and was acquired by Napster in
2001. Prior to Gigabeat, she worked on a series of projects in film and online music in Los Angeles. Turner holds a M.S. and B.A. from Stanford University.
Some of the very first decisions founders must make early on in their ventures are crucially important to the future of the business. Many of these decisions concern the ubiquitous "people problems" that challenge even experienced entrepreneurs. When should I found? Should I co-found with someone? With whom? How should we split the equity? Bad or ill-informed choices at critical junctures could have significant consequences for startups. In fact, research has suggested that 65 percent of new firm failures were related to problems within the management team.
Our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman, once said: "It's your right to be uncommon if you can. You seek opportunity to compete. You desire to take calculated risk, to dream, to build, yes, even to fail, and to succeed". He was talking to entrepreneurs: those people who create new ventures, building visions into reality. Indeed, entrepreneurs are uncommon in many ways. They create something from nothing. They see problems (and solutions) that others might not. They take personal and financial risks.
According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States, men are “substantially more likely to start a business each month than women”. In the seventeen year period from 1996 – 2012, the average rate of entrepreneurial activity for men was .37 percent; for women during the same period it was .23 percent.
During my years at the Kauffman Foundation I have seen firsthand the effect that education can have on the development of entrepreneurs and their companies. The entrepreneurs with whom I have worked have taken the lessons they have learned and applied them to great effect in their endeavors as founders. These entrepreneurs benefited from opportunities to learn critical skills, and from gaining an understanding of crucial decisions or junctures that often can derail entrepreneurial businesses.
Entrepreneurship is flourishing on campuses around the country. In classrooms and through co-curricular programs and competitions, students on diverse campuses, at universities large and small, representing disciplines across the spectrum, have the opportunity to understand the role of entrepreneurship in the economy, explore innovation, test their own ideas, and learn what they need to know to be entrepreneurs.
In a matter of weeks colleges and universities across the country will be teeming with students. A new school year will bring the excitement of new discovery, opportunities to meet new people, and the anticipation of learning. On these campuses students will also find a vast array of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship.
"No business plan survives first contact with customers," Steve Blank says. What? Isn't the point of planning that you maximize the likelihood of success in the marketplace? Well yes, but perhaps not the kind of planning you might be thinking about. A business plan conceived on paper, powered by a great idea or invention, enhanced by research on the size of the market and a customer profile, has great potential. But it also has a crucial flaw.
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