VT KnowledgeWorks has launched a new initiative to accelerate innovative technology transfer from the university to the private sector. The annual Tech Transfer Challenge Prize provides $100,000 worth of mentorship and business support services to a winning team of Virginia Tech faculty, staff, students and/or alumni proposing to establish a new venture in Blacksburg, Virginia based on Virginia Tech-owned technology. Services are provided over a two-year period, and include assistance in developing the overall business strategy as well as the presentations and plan documents needed for investor discussions and product launch.
Services Provided to Winner
The winning team receives both corporate and personal mentorship from the VT KnowledgeWorks Executive Director and its Director of Strategic Services. The VT KnowledgeWorks Strategic Services team performs various strategic studies and develops presentation materials and formal plan documents needed for product launch and investor discussions, including financial pro-formas. The VT KnowledgeWorks network of early-stage investors provides introduction to a wide range of funding opportunities.
The venture receives complimentary membership in VT KnowledgeWorks for two years and key team members attend a Founders’ Readiness Express workshop. In addition, 50% of one-year’s rent at the VT Corporate Research Center provides the venture an attractive launch pad.
Application Submission Process
Applicants may be individuals or teams, but key members must be
- Employed by or a student at Virginia Tech or Virginia Tech alumni
- Willing to commit seriously to the development of the proposed commercial enterprise
- Able to fill the technology leadership roles in the proposed venture
- Committed to locating business operations in Blacksburg, and
- Committed to submiting SBIR or equivalent proposals during the first year of the award that would provide funding support for products developed based on the underlying Virginia Tech owned technology.
Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the Guidelines available on the VT KnowledgeWorks website and show that:
- The technology forming the basis for the new venture is developed beyond “pure science” and available for licensing from Virginia Tech
- Proposed products based on the technology would have a clear competitive position in the marketplace
- The proposed target markets would be receptive to new entrants; at least one clear addressable customer base must be identified
- The venture has a conceptually viable financial model with sustainable, scaling revenues and earnings
Application Evaluation Process
A Selection Committee of successful entrepreneurs and investors from the region reviews all submissions and selects a group of finalists who are invited to make a 10-minute presentation to the Committee on the proposed new venture. The Committee may also interview team members individually as part of their selection process.
Additional Support for Tech Transfer Concepts
Through the Tech Transfer Challenge, several runner-up applications may be selected for modest business development support. For these, the Director of Strategic Services will provide assistance in business plan document development and creation of initial business and marketing plans, five-year financial pro-formas, and other documents needed to initiate investor discussions.
The deadline for 2012 application submissions is April 13, 2012.
Applications are to be submitted to [email protected] and will be acknowledged by April 17, 2012.
VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, LeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).