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Faith Knutsen, Associate Director of TechGROWTH Ohio, visited Dr. Uzuegbunam’s Ideation class and gave a presentation on a few social entrepreneurs from Africa. Along with hearing from these entrepreneurs via skype, students were also able to hear from a local entrepreneur, Megen Weber. After a brief introduction about social entrepreneurs, Knutsen prompted Weber to talk about her experiences as a local entrepreneur.
Weber currently runs a preschool which is located in The Plains, Ohio. This preschool is currently run by 9 staff members, all of which are in charge of teaching a group of roughly 40 children. Weber started out working at a private school, located in the same area, until it was later closed. When the school shut down, many parents were concerned for their children’s education. Weber saw there was a clear problem, and wanted to solve it. Weber used this example of her business and explained how individuals could look more locally when they are trying to solve a problem, instead of trying to solve problems on a national level.
“When starting a business, the most important thing is that you have a whole lot of initiative. The process is going to be all consuming and require a great deal of your time and energy”, said Weber.
After Weber concluded her speech, Knutsen gave a presentation on one of the African Entrepreneurs, as there were some technical difficulties with Skype. Lucy Athieno was an impoverished Ugandan woman who saw that basic sanitary supplies were unavailable in her area. She said that often girls were forced to miss school when their monthly cycle came around. Athieno saw that when these girls missed school, they were missing out on education opportunities. She didn’t want these girls to be held back because of a natural bodily function. She then designed a sanitary pad that could be locally made, which made it very inexpensive. Once she created the product, it was then shipped out to local schools which helped girls achieve a higher attendance rate and also learn more about their bodies.
Next up to speak was Kakel Mbumb, an agricultural entrepreneur from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mbumb focused on agriculture because 80% of the region he lives in is rural, and the agricultural produce was being undermined by imports from other countries. Eventually he decided to expand his area of focus to youth and digital connectivity. Now, Mbumb wants to work towards helping people gain access to electricity and the internet.
“This way they can gain more knowledge about what they are doing”, said Mbumb.
Mbumb also wants to improve literacy levels in youth, so that way they can actually access the internet and eventually gain more knowledge. Mbumb believes that this integrated process will greatly help youth in his area, and it will also allow him to keep a closer eye on every aspect of his organizations.
The last person to speak was Alfred Godwin Adjabeng, another agricultural entrepreneur that works to improve the food security problems in schools in Ghana. Adjabeng works as a director in his organization to reach out to other communities to gain support for his program. The program aims to gather community support and after which they will provide a small amount of land which will be set aside for the school growing zone. This way, schools have the ability to produce the food that their students eat. They also support government work, which contributes to 40% of the food security in the region. He said that the government works to provide subsidized settings to make sure the crops do well.
“Our definition of success is seeing the school attendance rate rise. Our program greatly benefits the youth and we have seen tremendous growth in the attendance rates of the schools that support our program,” said Adjabeng.
Overall, the event was a huge success. Students were able to hear from entrepreneurs from around the world and gain more knowledge on how to solve problems at a local level. They were also able to learn a little bit more about various problems that people face outside of the United States. Make sure to stay tuned to our blog for more information about upcoming events!
Mark Foley, Technology Commercialization Manager at the Technology Transfer Office, visited Dr. Luke Pittaway’s MGT 3720 class today and gave a brief presentation on how inventors can go about getting protection for their inventions. Foley talked to the students about the four main categories of intellectual property (IP); Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Trade Secrets. He then briefly talked about the details of each of these categories, as well as the pros and cons of using them. Foley also talked about the process in which an inventor would file for one of these protections. He wrapped up the presentation by answering some questions surrounding different aspects of IP.
The Technology Transfer Office’s mission is to facilitate the transfer of intellectual property to business and industry through the development and management of high-quality portfolio of diverse technologies; ensure intellectual property rights; negotiate and execute licensing agreements; and, when feasible, assist in the formation of start-up businesses that utilize the university’s technology in order to provide benefits to the university as well as the regional economy.
In 2015, Dan Stamm and Alex Morrow saw a need for protection against the growing trend of unmanned drones. With a small amount of capital, and permission from their scientific leaders, the two set out to create a piece of technology that would provide people with protection from pesky drones. DroneDefender, as the technology is being called, is a directed-energy unmanned aircraft system countermeasure. The countermeasure disrupts communication between the drone and the user and neutralizes any remote actions, such as detonation. This way, there is very little damage done to the surrounding area, as well as to the drone itself. Due to regulations placed by the Federal Communications Commission, DroneDefender is only able to be used by authorized personnel. The two creators have sold over 100 of these devices to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. With high demand for their tech, the creators surely have their future work cut out for them! More information about DroneDefender can be found here: https://www.battelle.org/government-offerings/national-security/tactical-systems-vehicles/tactical-equipment/counter-UAS-technologies
The Ohio University Foundation established the Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship to recognize current and former faculty members or students who have demonstrated excellence in innovation, invention, commercialization, and entrepreneurship.
The Center for Entrepreneurship would like to invite all students and staff to participate in a Fireside Chat with the newest Konneker Medal recipient, Jake Sigal. CEO of Detroit’s Tome, Inc., he made a career out of building companies that have redefined the way software applications work with hardware products. Sigal earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial and systems engineering from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology. This event will be held at the Konneker Alumni Center on Wednesday, February 8th from 2 – 3pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
As spring approaches, it’s time for your students to start looking for summer internships and professional experiences! The Centers of Excellence wants your students to know about the Ohio International Consulting Program (OICP).
The OICP is a professional experience that offers students internship credit, 6 hours of course credit and invaluable career connections with one of the largest strategic consulting firms in the world, Sogeti. The program consists of a 10-12 week team consulting project with Sogeti on Ohio University’s campus this summer. Students who have completed the OICP have great things to say about their experience and some of them have even ended up working at Sogeti full-time!
If you want to learn more, please come to the OICP Info Session & Social at Buffalo Wild Wings next Wednesday, January 25 from 6 – 7 p.m. We will have free appetizers and more information on the OICP! Check out the graphic below for more information.
The Center for Entrepreneurship hosts various Venture Cafes throughout the semester as a way to connect students with an expert in their field of study. They are a great way for business oriented students to learn the ins and outs of the various aspects of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
After a brief introduction by John Glazer, Director at TechGROWTH Ohio, the event was turned over to our guest speaker Ryan Watson. Watson was the co-founder and principal of Upsourced Accounting, a tech-enabled accounting practice in Columbus, OH, and is now currently working as the head of finance and operations for Ahalogy, a Cincinnati based startup focused on content and influencer marketing for Fortune 500 marketers.
Watson started off the event with a brief introduction about his time at Upsourced Accounting. He explained that their goal was to build the accounting model for the future, but also to start their own business. Watson and his team started Upsourced Accounting as a “nights and weekends project”, meaning that they would work on it as more of a side project until it was fully functioning and able to produce enough capital to sustain itself.
While working at Upsourced Accounting, Watson saw that there was a problem with the current accounting model. This was when he decided to create Sqrl, a SaaS tool that would help transition the current accounting model into software.
“The problem with the model at the time was that it lacked a communication piece between the accounting firms and their consumers. So, we built a document collection tool as a way to compete with other accounting firms”, said Watson.
Soon, a couple of firms actually reached out to Watson and his team in hopes to use this newly created software. That’s when they decided to sell the tool to other accounting firms, instead of keeping it to themselves. Watson then applied, and was later accepted, to the Brandery, an accelerator for startup based out of Cincinnati. Eventually, Watson sold Sqrl to another group and then later went on to join Ahology.
Throughout the event, Watson touched on various ideas surrounding startups, such as startup creation and funding. He proposed that it really doesn’t take a lot of capital to actually create a startup. He also talked about the differences between bootstrapping and venture capitalist funding. Watson explained that only a small number of companies are really appropriate to raise venture capital. He also suggested that it is much harder to make a profit by using venture capital.
Overall, the event was a huge success. Students were able to take away a lot of valuable information from this Venture Café. If you were unable to attend this event, or are simply interested in learning more information about any upcoming events, stay tuned to our blog. We look forward to seeing you at our next Venture Café!