Opportunities for creating businesses and turning research products into viable commercial goods exist right here at Auburn University.
Wednesday, 25 students in Management Professor and Lowder Eminent Scholar Dave Ketchen’s Growth Strategies for Emerging Companies class in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business learned about such opportunities during an extensive tour of the Auburn Research Park. Students toured the Auburn Business Incubator (ABI), were shown where young businesses are provided office space, and received an overview of technology transfer and how ideas in the classrooms or laboratories can come to life commercially.
“We want to help students turn their ideas into businesses,” said John D. Weete, Executive Director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (ARTF). “We have technology generated by faculty and research that has commercial potential. We take great ideas, protect them and commercialize them. It’s our responsibility to get these into the public sector.”
Technology transfer provides researchers with expertise and guidance on such matters as intellectual property and licensing agreements with commercial entities.
Doug Warrington, Director of Business Development, explained to students the need for technology transfer and how it works.
“We’re a magnet for students who say ‘I have a company that I need to start up and run,’” Warrington said. “We take great ideas, protect them and commercialize them.”
Inside the ABI, students were shown the office spaces that 13 start-up businesses currently operate. These businesses range from social media, to computer software, to graphic design, to a prototypical engineering company.
“We help companies grow and give them the resources they need to be successful,” ARTF Assistant Director Phil Dunlap told students. “We provide knowledge that helps benefit companies and sees them grow.”
Aside from the office space, incubator clients are helped finding potential customers, business support services, and identifying interns.
“Start-ups come in here and stay about three to four years and take advantage of the support we give them,” Weete said. “We help them get on their feet.”
Ketchen believes such venues are becoming increasingly necessary in today’s changing business climate.
“There is a fierce desire in various places across campus to create an entrepreneurship eco-system that will help more new ventures emerge, grow, and thrive,” said Ketchen. “Building this eco-system requires making connections between budding entrepreneurs – our students – and the infrastructure provided by the Auburn Research Park and its business incubator.”
For further information about the Auburn Research Park and the Auburn Business Incubator, contact John Weete, Executive Director of the Auburn Research Park, at (334) 844-7480 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Phil Dunlap, Assistant Director of the Auburn Research Park, at (334) 844-7444 or email@example.com