LIINC Up with 3 Steps to Startup! 

This month, 3 Steps to Startup will host two “LIINC” events: Linking Innovation, Industry, and Commercialization. These events are designed to allow hopeful research entrepreneurs access to business acumen and venture capital while simultaneously allowing those in the private sector to collaborate with a researcher in an area of interest. The two LIINC events will take place virtually on October 6th, 2021, via West Virginia University, and on October 20th, 2021, via Marshall University.   

Researchers are essential members of the entrepreneur community. At our virtual LIINC events, 3 Steps inspires collaboration between researchers with valuable but unpublished ideas and investors along with industry leaders. The event structure allows researchers 8 minutes to present their work in a quick-pitch format. Afterward, they’ll receive feedback and leave the event with plans for collaboration with the private sector.  

As with any other type of entrepreneurship, one of the biggest obstacles for research entrepreneurship is difficulty securing funding. In particular, researchers don’t have many opportunities to network with those in the private sector, and the private sector might also have trouble establishing a direct line to a great researcher. A Harvard Business Review article posits that “the most important thing driving America’s success has been its unparalleled scientific leadership” as opposed to the entrepreneurial drive of its citizens. The article cites the issue that the public sector funds science for the most part. For private companies, access to that research is limited. Bringing the two sectors together is essential to see real innovation for this reason. Since 3 Steps’ goal is to support the success of West Virginia’s future small businesses, our goal is to connect private sector resources to research sector ideas, bridging the gap and eliminating an obstacle to innovation. 

The key to a successful startup is to solve the right problem with the right solution. Industry and investors may already have a problem in mind that needs solving, but only researchers can provide the expertise to solve the problem. Researchers may have exciting ideas about a particular field but not a way to target a specific problem yet. Cather Simpson, a specialist in lasers and spectroscopy at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, also endorses the problem/solution construct of entrepreneurship. “She says that’s better than brainstorming ways to sell one’s research. She started one company because a dairy-industry investor came to her in 2011 with a list of problems in the sector.” Events like LIINC hope to encounter this precise scenario, with the opportunity to inspire innovation and collaboration, leading West Virginia’s economy toward a prosperous future. 

Do you think you’re a research entrepreneur that would benefit from an opportunity like LIINC? What about an investor or industry leader wanting to connect to valuable research? Reach out to Bryan Brown at [email protected]! 3 Steps to Start Up’s mission is to seek success for West Virginia small businesses, and LIINC is just one way we’re doing it. Check out our website for more information on how.

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