Start-up Companies Start-ups in this survey means companies that were dependent upon licensing the institution’s technology for initiation
University of South Carolina USC Technology Incubator 10 companies graduated, 20 current tenants Over 220 jobs generated Managed by the USC Research Foundation $275,000 budget annually from multi-sources. No funding from USC Proposed to move to a 40,000 sq. ft. building Research Campus 5 million sq. ft. campus Mixture of research labs, private companies, retail stores, and housing BusinessLink Streamlines the private companies’ access to USC faculty, staff, facility, and support services
Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) Includes graduate engineering center, research and testing facilities, and private industry R&D operations Partners: BMW, Microsoft, IBM, Michelin North America Clemson Research Park 10 current tenants An incubation system has spun off approximately 10 companies
Medical University of South Carolina The Foundation for Research Development Created in 1995 Manages the university’s intellectual property Eight new companies started by licensing MUSC research $450,000 generated by license agreements No formal incubation program at MUSC, but next building phase has planned for space
Georgia Institute of Technology Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Technology incubator established in 1981 Over 100 companies graduated from ATDC Generated over 4,600 jobs for Georgia $2 million operating budget from the state Economic Development Institute (EDI) Offers an array of services to improve the competitiveness of Georgia business communities VentureLab Assists Georgia Tech faculty in moving laboratory innovation to commercial market
N.C. State University Research Triangle Park Hosts over 100 research and development facilities and 38,500 employees Helps N.C. State attract prominent faculty and increase external partnership Centennial Campus “Technopolis” $100,000 annual operating budget from the university Overseen by the Vice-Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Hosts more than 100 companies, government agencies, and a business incubator University Policy “Realms of Faculty Responsibility,” which is the tenure and promotion guidelines, stresses external partnership and faculty’s role in driving state economy
Comments From Interviewees USC policy neither encourages nor discourages technology transfer. South Carolina has lack of local companies in USC’s research expertise. Therefore, USC has to attract companies from outside of the state. The Venture Capital Bill will not help start-ups significantly. Angel fund is the main funding source for start-ups and early-stage capital. It is hard for angel partners to attract more members in South Carolina. University is a top-down structure. If we want any change, the top management should advocate and support it. The USC business incubator director has to spend 60% of his time to get funding. Do not have the people and resources to “mine” the university for commercialization opportunities. No one standing in line wanting to start a new company and get in the incubation system for the university. But, substantial number waiting in line for assistance with patents and licensing.
Initial Observations For Further Study At all of these universities, found technology transfer administrators struggling with Lack of entrepreneurial culture Lack of policies to support commercialization Lack of resources
Initial Observations For Further Study (Cont’d) Lack of entrepreneurial culture demonstrated by absence of professors and staff with entrepreneurial background and desire to collaborate with private sector to create new business. Lack of policy support demonstrated by absence of rewards in tenure and promotion policy for commercialization, for faculty participation in entrepreneurial activities, and use of multi-disciplines to assist staff with new ideas. Lack of resources demonstrated by lack of facilities, lack of funding for incubations, and lack of initial support for innovations.
Initial Recommendations For Consideration Need to have more targeted incentives and job credits for entrepreneurial activities and start-up companies initiated by research universities. Need to expand endowed chair program to include funding for new junior faculty with entrepreneurial background from benchmark universities. Need for universities to re-think their policies concerning tenure and promotion so as to include entrepreneurial activities. Need for universities to develop much stronger relationships with businesses in state. Need to consider developing collaborative support for all three research universities to provide legal (particularly intellectual property), financial, business planning, and marketing expertise to support commercialization.