Posts Tagged ‘launch a business’

How separate should faculty start-ups be as university spin-offs?

June 5, 2014

faculty startup; faculty research; university startup; autm technology transferI am a former patent examiner and registered patent attorney.  I worked as a Technology Transfer Specialist in the Office of Research at my alma mater, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.  I managed the College of Engineering’s technology.  I went on to become Old Dominion University’s Director of Intellectual Property and Research Compliance.  Many research universities take equity share ownership in and provide supporting resources to faculty members that the university has encouraged to venture out and start up a technology based business involving their research on campus.

Andrew Campbell’s May 26, 2014 Harvard Business Review article entitled “How Separate Should a Corporate Spin-Off Be?” intrigued me.  Campbell cited large corporate examples including Shell, BAT, Virgin Group and Unilever.  But, it strikes me as a question that should and often is considered with respect to research universities and their faculty’s small corporate spin offs.

When businesses set up a separate business unit, David Campbell posed the following questions:

  • Which corporate policies should apply to the new division and which should not?

With university faculty start-ups, many of the university’s policies still apply to the faculty member since the faculty is still on staff.  Many university’s follow business ethics policies such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Statement on Corporate Funding of Academic Research adopted by the Association’s Council in November 2004.  This Statement mentions problems that arise when universities actively encourage faculty members to form private research companies to promote licensing of innovations.  The AAUP states that a faculty member’s entrepreneurial instincts may lead her to try to identify and patent discoveries that will have a payoff and “[t]he danger exists that universities will be so assimilated into society that [they] ..must guard against being harnessed directly to social purposes in any way that undermines the fundamental character of the university”.  Thus, a university’s culture and policies related to its vision of its ivory tower role would have to be taken into consideration!

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By Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD – President Lemongrass Consulting

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.


25 Free Small Business Lessons

May 17, 2013

If you are seeking training for your existing business; or if you intend to launch a business, this article should prove helpful.

Here are 25 pillar small business development lessons I learned during the first five (5) years after launching my consulting firm Lemongrass:

1. Lift as you Climb and Stay Uplifted

You need balance.  Do not get so involved with volunteering to get your foot in doors that you neglect your cash flow.  Also, as you help others, be sure to do what it takes to stay positive, smiling and uplifted in spirit.

 2. “The more you reason, the less you create” – Raymond Chandler

Be sure that you are not spending your days with busy work.  For example, do not spend most of your time on filing, direct mail tasks, or social media marketing.  Automate and outsource.  Be sure that the bulk of your day is on serving customers and bringing in new business.  This means cold calls, emails, schedule visits, attending events, etc.

 3. You need to have Gumption! 

You need ready, quick willingness to take initiative and shrewd common sense.

4. Get away from dysfunctional people.  Surround yourself with supportive people.

5. Don’t go day by day. 

You need vision to see the week, month, year, and years at a glance.  List the goals that you want accomplished by the end of the week.  Envision yourself getting a nice reward for getting it all done.  This could be a nice fine dining experience and a spa treatment.  You can also vision checks coming in and bills getting paid.

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By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting Inc