A version of this post by Jim Flowers, executive director of VT KnowledgeWorks, first appeared on From the Director’s Chair.
The recession is definitely history, at least regarding start-up companies. There were clear signs of renewed vigor in the entrepreneurship community a year ago, but around mid-year here in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, the floodgates re-opened in earnest. The number of people seeking information, opinion, and advice about their new business ideas is back to pre-recession levels.
At VT KnowledgeWorks, that translates into a steady stream of Initial Concept Consultations: one-hour meetings in which we explore the strategic merit of new business ideas and the passion of the prospective business founder. Beyond those first meetings lie various risk reduction activities that should naturally precede a company launch such as market studies, competitive assessments, prototype development, and financial modeling. We are providing more of these right now than at any time in recent memory.
Entrepreneurial activity on the Virginia Tech campus is likewise at an all-time high. Courses with the word entrepreneurship in their names or taglines are popping up everywhere. Over four dozen students and faculty recently attended a VT KnowledgeWorks Founders’ Readiness Workshop in the ICTAS conference room. I offer open office hours inside the College of Engineering twice each month, for anyone with entrepreneurial notions. They were booked up for the entire semester within two days of the announcement.
So, entrepreneurial confidence is way, way up. Our challenge at VT KnowledgeWorks is to help these passionate innovators avoid the common pitfalls related to impatience and enthusiasm and we have all sorts of events and services in place to do just that. You can help. Spread the word: do not let a friend drive drunk - and do not let one start a business without checking in at VT KnowledgeWorks.
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 Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
VT KnowledgeWorks corporate sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, Latimer IP Law, LLC , LeClairRyan, New River Valley IP Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), The Branch Group, and Wordsprint.