Encouraging technology-based entrepreneurship is central to the policy agendas of governmental and non-governmental economic development agencies in many industrialised and newly industrialising countries. Entrepreneurs are central to venture creation and evidence indicates that, following secondary and, typically, tertiary education, most work for one or more employers prior to establishing a technology-based venture on their own or with others. As a result of this ‘entrepreneurial apprenticeship’ many technology entrepreneurs establish businesses in their mid-to-late 30s. Developing a thorough understanding of product/service markets and devising strategies to access, serve and support customers are major challenges for founders of technology-based businesses. Ventures established by individuals or groups with relevant commercial experience benefit from the know-how and networks of their founders. This chapter explores the role of university business plan competitions in stimulating entrepreneurial activity and technology transfer from two universities in Northern Ireland by focusing on entrants in the 2007 £25k Enterprise Award Scheme business planning competition. Such initiatives tend to attract students/recent graduates and members of university staff and raise the question as to how such teams develop commercially robust ventures, given that, on the face of it, most have little or no commercial experience. Based on analysis of the business plans of the top 10 ventures from the 2007 competition this chapter explores characteristics of the entrepreneurial teams, their choice of product/service offerings and aspects of the markets they target.
McGowan, P. and Cooper, S. (2012), "Chapter 3 Taking Technological Opportunities to the Market: The Role of University-Based Business Plan Competitions in Supporting High Technology Commercialisation", Groen, A., Oakey, R., Van Der Sijde, P. and Cook, G. (Ed.) New Technology-Based Firms in the New Millennium (New Technology Based Firms in the New Millennium, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 23-37. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1876-0228(2012)0000009005Download as .RIS
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