Innovation to Market Course Prepares Scientists and Engineers for Entrepreneurial Ventures

By Emily Meyertholen, Rady School of Management

Innovation to Market

The Rady School’s Center for Executive Development is just halfway through its inaugural Innovation to Market course, but the participants are well on their way toward refining their product or service concepts and developing sound, researched business plans.

The course is designed to help scientists and engineers gain business skills needed to seek funding and launch successful ventures. Through a series of 11 Monday evening sessions, 18 participants are getting a crash course in practical business concepts they can apply directly to their own innovation ideas. Each session closes with insights from a guest speaker with successful startup experience. At the opening session July 20, Titan Corporation founder Gene Ray shared his thoughts on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. He advised participants to always seek out help and remain flexible as they build their businesses.

Harris Brotman, who earned a Ph.D. in genetics from UC Davis and is now a bioscience patent attorney, is using the course to guide him in bringing to market a door control device for use in commercial office buildings.

“I’ve had a number of ideas, but I wanted to understand the process for moving them forward. I wanted to get more in line with standard business practices.”

Brotman says he feels more positive about his concept based on what he’s learned so far. The course has helped him better understand how to position a product and evaluate its critical success factors. Most importantly, he says, guest speaker Mark Bowles, co-founder and CEO of reMobile, Inc., helped him see the importance of market research and the need to develop a product for a specific market.

This program uses FastTrac�NewVenture, an award-winning, comprehensive package of entrepreneurship training materials developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Over 300,000 entrepreneurs worldwide have already found success through the FastTrac programs.

Due to the success of this course and the demand for practical entrepreneurship training for non-business people, plans are underway to offer another Innovation to Market course this winter, as well as a follow-on course for those who have launched their ventures and are ready to plan for growth.

Check the Center for Executive Development’s Web site at www.rady.ucsd.edu/exec/innovation for further details, or contact course coordinator Lindsay Lackey at llackey@ucsd.edu or 858-822-0537.