The general ACTiVATE® model starts with recruiting up to 30 qualified women. Ideally, half will have a technical background and the other half will have a business background. The diverse backgrounds allow for the formation of interdisciplinary teams. The model also requires the identification and screening of technologies from area research institutions and federal labs so approximately 30 technologies can be identified to serve as projects for the program.
The participants are then engaged in a training program led by up to three instructors, who have been selected taking into consideration their experience as entrepreneurs. The training program consists of two tracks – the lecture track and the project track. The lecture track includes formal lectures, panels and guest speakers on a variety of topics. The goal of this track is to teach general principles and make introductions to various resource people in the region. The project track involves the participants taking the steps of commercializing an invention using the information provided in the lecture. The goal of this track is to give the participants valuable experience by asking them to take the steps required to develop a business plan and start a company based on the technology they have selected.
The training program is also divided into three phases. The first phase is a market assessment of the selected technology. The second phase is focused on developing a business plan and preparing to launch a company. The third phase follows the formal yearlong program and consists of actually forming a company. The instructors serve as advisors for each project team. In addition, a group of advisors from the business community is identified to further support the participant’s efforts.
The goal of the program is to form companies, license technology into the companies, raise funding, and begin operations.