Owen Entrepreneurship Center enters alliance with Huntsville-based technology incubator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management Entrepreneurship Center has entered into an alliance with BizTech, the five-year-old technology incubator based in Huntsville, Ala. The first project on which the organizations will collaborate is The Olin B. King Entrepreneurial Workshop Series, a nine-part series of workshops that begins in July.

The workshops will focus on essential topics for successful start-up ventures and will be taught by Owen School faculty at the BizTech facility in Huntsville. The course of study was developed to educate entrepreneurs, professionals planning to become entrepreneurs and corporate officers of existing start-up ventures on how to create an effective, successful, high valuation company.

“This new alliance with BizTech fits very well into the plan we have for ourselves,” said Germain Böer, Owen School professor of management and the Entrepreneurship Center’s director. ”It will help us create high potential enterprises in this region, offer business education to people who are creating wealth and provide the opportunity for Owen students to work with BizTech’s clients,” he said.

“We have been working very closely with the Nashville Technology Council, and our plan all along has been to expand and develop business contacts and alliances in our region. Wherever there is a lot of wealth-creating business—and that means job-creating business—that’s where we want to be. Huntsville has so many entrepreneurs exploring technology, energy and life sciences products and services that it was a natural as the next place we needed to be,” Böer said.

“Partnering with BizTech is the best way for us to connect the Owen School with the business leaders and technology entrepreneurs in Huntsville and the surrounding areas. They’ve got an established record of success as an incubator, and we’ve got a lot to offer in management education and through the hands-on work of our students,” he added.

Incubators like BizTech work with entrepreneurs to abate risk, to solve problems faster, to shorten the learning curve and to improve their likelihood of success. According to the Small Business Association, the majority of small businesses fail in the first three to five years. Studies show that most fail because of management inexperience, insufficient capital, inadequate planning, lack of market knowledge, failure to seek the advice of a professional and lack of financial planning and review.

The alliance with the Owen School will add a new dimension to what BizTech already offers. BizTech President and CEO Joanne W. Randolph said, “We are excited about this new partnership with the Owen School. Entrepreneurial training is key to the success of a new venture, and this partnership will offer local entrepreneurs access to some of the top professors in the field."

Owen School faculty who will teach the workshops include Böer; Luke Froeb, William C. and Margaret M. Oehmig Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise; Bruce Lynskey, clinical professor of management; and David Owens, assistant professor of management.

The half-day workshops, which run through mid-September, teach the range of information needed for a start-up venture, from “Structuring and Managing the Small Business” to “Driving Company Valuation.” They can be taken as a nine-part series, or individually. The cost is $699 for the series or $99 each ($399 and $49 for BizTech clients). More information on the workshops including the full schedule and registration information is available on the BizTech website at http://www.biztech.org/vandy-seminar.shtml.

The workshop series is named for Olin B. King, one of Huntsville’s most successful entrepreneurs. In 1961, King founded SCI Systems in his basement and grew it into a multibillion-dollar company with more than 34,000 employees in 19 countries. SCI Systems, a leading electronics contract manufacturer, merged with Sanmina Corp. last year.

The Owen Entrepreneurship Center works to stimulate entrepreneurship activity in the Southeast, with an emphasis on the I-40 corridor through Tennessee and the I-65 corridor through Alabama and Tennessee. It provides a resource for the greater regional community and encourages Owen School students to pursue entrepreneurial careers; offers opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, faculty and students to come together to share ideas and build productive relationships between the Owen School and the business community; acts as a catalyst for entrepreneurial activities at the Owen School with speakers, conferences, discussion groups and community outreach; and is a valuable resource to the entrepreneurial community in Nashville and the Southeast.

Contact: Susanne Loftis, (615) 322-2706 susanne.loftis@vanderbilt.edu

Explore Story Topics