Where is the drive for entrepreneurship?
06 Apr 2008

Where is the drive for entrepreneurship?

The StarTribune is running an excellent story

06 Apr 2008

The StarTribune is running an excellent story on an intellectual property crisis at the University of Minnesota that probably is contextualizable to other “Research I”/”Research Universities (RU/VH)” universities as well: Entrepreneurship is avoided. Perhaps this is a cultural thing:

The university “provides all sorts of disincentives to new technology,” John Alexander, president of Twin Cities Angels, a local investor group, recently told the state’s House Committee on Biosciences and Emerging Technology.

[…]

“It was difficult to get access to intellectual property,” said Dale Wahlstrom, a former Medtronic executive who is now chief executive of the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota. “It was a one-sided discussion. If they couldn’t get the optimal deal, they wouldn’t do anything.”

The article goes on to suggest that “the university traditionally lacked the necessary money and managerial talent to turn promising research into viable companies.” As an employee of the University of Minnesota, I feel I should avoid addressing that topic. But, still, I wonder…

  • Is the drive for innovation and entrepreneurship what separates really great universities from the others?
  • If world-class private universities actively support entrepreneurial activities and support the spinning-off of enterprises (i.e., Stanford and MIT), why shouldn’t land grand institutions do so as well if they are providing for the public good by releasing technologies and other intellectual property that otherwise would not impact society?
  • As the rest of the world adopts new intellectual property models (i.e., Creative Commons), what will become of the research institutions that today fail to succeed in realizing opportunities from yesterday’s models?
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  1. James Kahl April 19th, 2008 8:00PM

    Check out the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. http://www.entrepreneurship.umn.edu

    I’m a student who came to the UofM (specifically Carlson) with the sole intent to get a business education (electrical engineering background) and start a business. There are an amazing amount of tools and resources provided to the student. I am an example of someone who is reaping the benefit of the initiatives being taken at the University.

    The Star Trib article referred to internal ventures but I think the greatest resources we can tap at the U are our students. Give them the tools necessary and they will go out and create the businesses that employ thousands of Minnesotans and move our economy to the next level.

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