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Championship: Opening up the ivory tower

This is the 22nd article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In the context of getting technology to market, “champion” can mean a lot of different things.

Early in this series we defined it as individuals within established enterprises who see the value in supporting a new venture or investing resources in an innovation to help realize its commercial potential. This is often driven by the need to solve a pain point that the patron organization has been unable to address with its internal resources.

A champion can also be a senior decision maker within a large enterprise who provides the clout and support for a successful spinout. Many companies often sit on proprietary IP and leave its commercial potential unrealized because it doesn’t fit with their product lines or existing markets. However, with a little vision and persistence from few committed intrapreneurs, a new company can be born.

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