An article in last week’s Science caught my eye. In An International Plan to Hatch Scientist-Entrepreneurs, there’s news that a panel at the summer meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced plans to award five $10,000 seed grants to the most compelling joint R&D proposals arising from interactions at the meeting between scientists and business leaders.
“The idea is to nurture new linkages,” says IAP co-chair Howard Alper, a chemist and chair of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council. “Companies need not put in a cent at the beginning.” Alper expects many academies to provide matching grants. The effort is timely, says Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer at the California computer firm, Cisco Systems. “The lines are blurring between breakthrough, start-up, and scale-up,” she says.
The trouble with entepreneurship of this kind however, is that you have to be a lot smarter than me. Or at least someone who thinks they understand either business or product design better than I.
Scientist entrepreneurs have an inherent advantage over other entrepreneurs. They are closer to the future than the rest of us. That proximity to the cutting edge gives them the opportunity to start businesses based on science that are truly breakthrough in nature.
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