University of South Carolina

May Session Ivory Tower

May session course takes students from Ivory Tower to marketplace


This May, a small group of students are finding out how ideas go from research lab to a commercial enterprise.

The course they're taking, "From Ivory Tower to Marketplace" (SCHC 474), shows students how a company is created in order to bring new technological advances to the public, and it examines all aspects of forming a business -- from marketing and communications to accounting and finance.

Robert Fletcher, venture capitalist in residence at the Moore School of Business, will be teaching the course. He stresses the importance of a variety of students to make the course successful.

Robert Fletcher
Robert Fletcher

"It's not a class for just engineers," he said. "A startup requires people who understand marketing, accounting, communications...One of the quotes I love is, ‘What would Apple Computer Inc. be without the artist, without the designer?'"

Fletcher's students must learn how to answer questions like, "How does this give value to a customer?," "How do we go about commercializing it and growing the business?," and "How do we separate our product from what's already out there?"

Fletcher's class is beginning the Maymester session by visiting a Greenville, S.C., company called SensorTech, a startup that sprang from university technology.

"Then they'll spend two days at the Innoventure Southeast 2010 conference, which brings innovators, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists together in order to spark the creation of new companies," Fletcher said.

Students will also have to complete the Saluda Shoals Real Team Challenge Course to learn about team building.

For the final two weeks, students will be engaged with guest speakers and will interview entrepreneurs and key researchers from the University who have already had success working with these types of university technology transfer deals.

Fletcher stresses that the small class size is ideal when working on this sort of entrepreneurial endeavor.

"It doesn't take 100 people, but six or ten folks who are really committed to creating their own visions and building their own career ladder instead of climbing someone else's."

By Web Communications

Posted: 05/10/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 05/26/10 @ 10:05 AM | Permalink





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