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OMG! There’s an entrepreneur on campus

This is the 17th 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

Over the past couple of weeks, we have explored where and how government can facilitate the process of commercialization to help technology entrepreneurs get their products to market. Throughout this series, we have talked about the entrepreneurial right stuff and the value of those soft skills collectively referred to as emotional intelligence.

But where does good old-fashioned formal education fit into all of this? What role does, and should, a person’s alma mater play in the formation of the next generation of entrepreneurs?

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Words of wisdom: What can you learn from a thunder lizard?

This is the eighth 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

“A startup is ultimately … not just about whether an idea or a product works, it is about whether or not you can create a business around it. Whether or not the ecosystem will support it, the customers will buy it, if the channels will support it, and if the manufacturers will actually create it. And because of that, we need to be able to test all these different facets of our business model, and do so quickly.”

This comes from someone Forbes calls “the most powerful woman in startups,” Ann Miura-Ko, co-founding partner with FLOODGATE. In October, she gave a lecture at Stanford University titled “Funding Thunder Lizard Entrepreneurs,” which is filled with so much insight we were tempted to just transcribe the whole damned thing and offer it up as a blog post of its own. However, her talk is available as a conveniently indexed webcast.

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Recent Comments

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

  • How can we foster culture of entrepreneurship? | Waterloo Innovation Summit : [...] Velocity also provides hands-on workshops for anyone at the University to learn about becoming a successful entrepreneur, and awards over $300,000 per year through the Velocity Fund to promising early startups, to help launch their success financially. We keep finding really good problems that are worthy of solving and that we think we’d be good at solving. - Mike Kirkup, Director of Velocity and Student Innovation Waterloo’s Velocity accelerator is 5, and growing fast [...]

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