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The Resource Center has all the info you'll need From content to user feedback, the resource center has the information you need for every level of the entrepreneurial process.
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.
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.
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.
Once you've heard the insight--that startups are different from big companies--it seems so obvious. Yet too often entrepreneurs, and those that teach them, approach the building of new companies with the same goals, staff structures and assumptions that motivate the management of large companies. Startup founders build teams to focus on engineering, and on the process of creating a product and bringing it to market.
"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.
Innovations receiving funding at North Carolina State University include two projects with healthcare applications: work on a new Salmonella vaccine and wound-healing bandages.
The Six Sigma manufacturing process drives production to near-perfect levels, seeking less than 3.4 defects per million output units. Here, the basic purpose and process of the Six Sigma methodology, and its connection to "lean" manufacturing, are clearly explained for entrepreneurs. The article also provides tips on getting started and guidelines to successful implementation.
Herb White's skill at evaluating new businesses and products has helped many companies. Most of his advice is donated, because he enjoys helping and hates seeing good ideas stuck on a shelf.
Universities and related organizations are major producers of patentable ideas. For entrepreneurs, the key is effectively working to license and commercialize these innovations. This article lays out a detailed strategy for entrepreneurs who want to commercialize licensed (and patented) technologies.
Ted Zoller, Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation and Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discusses the Global Entrepreneurship Lab.
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