Program History and Mission
The INNoVATE™ program provides applied training for post-doctoral fellows, research scientists, and other professionals who want to start life science-based companies. The program was launched in 2010 with a 3-year funding grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). For the 2013 INNoVATE class, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will offer the program at The Universities at Shady Grove's campus in Montgomery County, Maryland. The program is intended for scientists interested in commercializing biomedical technology. Partners in the program are the BioHealth Innovation, Inc. and the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.
During the program, INNoVATE participants learn to evaluate the commercial potential of a technology, create a business operational plan and articulate their investment opportunity to investors and potential business partners. The program participants also learn about valuable start-up resources in the region such as university technology transfer programs, business incubators, regional service providers, state and federal funding programs, angel and venture capital investors, and potential commercial partners. In addition, the program provides an opportunity to network with local business professionals at program events and in-class panel discussions.
As a group, postdocs and academic faculty are underrepresented in entrepreneurial careers due to their need for business training, their lack of industrial experience, and their difficulty accessing entrepreneurial mentors and advisors. INNoVATE is a unique program that provides scientists with access to experienced faculty advisors and business mentors, who help guide their project from idea formulation to business execution.
Program Objectives and Curriculum
The foundation of the INNoVATE™ program is that participants will plan to actually start their own companies. Participants (individually or in groups of 2-3 individuals) work with a technology they have developed or one offered by local universities and federal institutions.
Weekly classroom sessions are taught by instructors who are successful life sciences entrepreneurs. Class sessions are interactive and address the fundamental elements of starting an innovation-based business. Instructional tools include power point slides, handouts, exercises and case studies. Guest lecturers include C-level executives from local companies, key personnel from both private equity sources and government sponsored grant programs.
Once participants establish their companies through INNoVATE™, they are encouraged to grow them locally through state or federal grants. The participants build relationships with funders, local business leaders, mentors, lawyers, accountants, government program directors, scientists and technical experts. These contacts continue to grow even after the curriculum is completed, providing a lasting network of professionals with the knowledge and expertise to assist in the success of their business.
Corporate sponsorship is citical to our ability to successfully operate and expand the program. Your sponsorship will help assure our ability to provide program participants the training, support and access to resources to launch a technology based business. Email us to learn more about sponsor opportunities.