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Job openings at the American Business Incubator in New Delhi, India

New IC² Institute incubator in India seeks Director and Program Manager.

Prime Minister Modi’s Start-up India initiative centers around establishing business incubators throughout the country, yet successful in-country examples are hard to find. According to the Indian government’s own reports on entrepreneurship, the lack of effective business incubators is one of the three critical shortcomings that need to be addressed in order to evolve a dynamic ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India.

The American Center in New Delhi, in collaboration with the IC² Institute and a consortium of Indian organizations, is creating such an incubator by transforming a significant section of the American Center’s public space into a business and technology hub in New Delhi. Other collaborators include the Center for Entrepreneurship at Ashoka University, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Indian Angels Network and CoworkIn.

The incubator will support innovators through mentorship programs, link them to potential American and Indian investors, and provide multiple training and certificate courses on creating and administering incubators as well as marketing, design, IPR, accounting, clean energy, and social entrepreneurship.

The private-public partnerships that the American Center will bring are an asset that no other New Delhi incubator can offer, and its holistic approach, with international and Indian experts helping innovators from their proof of concept to successful entry into the marketplace, is a unique solution not to be found in the current ecosystem.

The Center is now in the process of hiring its Director and Program Manager, both of whom will be working under the guidance of international experts from the IC² Institute and The University of Texas at Austin. Erik Azulay of the IC² Institute, who will be moving to India in March to run the Center, said “This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved with this program on the ground floor. We are very excited about the Center and are looking for high energy, entrepreneurially minded people to work with us in creating the leading innovation and business hub in Delhi.”

Interested applicants are encouraged to review the two job positions below and submit their applications to: NewDelhiVacancies@State.gov. Applications are being accepted until January 27, 2017.

To apply, please review the following:

The incubator will be the second new incubation/acceleration program launched in India by the IC² Institute in the past year, following the XLr8 AP Technology Accelerator funded by the State of Andhra Pradesh. Plans for additional new IC² programs in India are under development.

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Two Guys on Your Head on creativity and business incubation

Two Guys on Your Head is a short KUT/NPR radio feature and podcast in which Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke of The University of Texas at Austin discuss how the human brain’s “hardwired” responses affect daily interactions in current society.

The IC² Institute asked professors Markman and Duke to discuss business incubation in relation to psychology’s four stages of creativity:

  • preparation — an idea or plan of action is conceived
  • incubation — the idea is set aside for sleep and other unrelated activities, while the subconscious mind re‑calculates the plan against the bank of personal experience and new sensory input
  • illumination — new answers appear spontaneously as new mental connections are established, resulting in an enriched, more viable plan
  • verification — the improved plan is put into action and is realized externally.

For this discussion, the preparation phase is proposed as parallel to establishing a business, while the incubation and illumination stages are considered iterative internal processes, such as occur during the business incubation phase; and verification is considered to be an external phase in which a business exits the incubator to seek success in the larger business realm.

This exclusive “off-the-air” discussion on business incubation and the creative process follows…

Art Markman and Bob Duke of Two Guys on Your Head
IC² Institute Director of Faculty Research Art Markman and Bob Duke of Two Guys on Your Head

The Interview

IC² Institute: Thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk with you today. Business incubation and the creative process are two things that you are both very familiar with. What are your thoughts on the stages of creativity and how they compare to (and are involved in) the business incubation process?

Markman: I think one thing to say up front is that when a lot of people think about innovation and the creativity that goes into creating a new company, they’re focused primarily on the development of whatever technology or services or the product that the company has.

But a company’s process also needs some amount of innovation, and development of culture also needs some amount of innovation in order for that company to develop both procedures and a culture that are ultimately healthy. I think the community underestimates the importance of that.

I know that the folks at the Austin Technology Incubator are well aware of the fact that a large proportion of the success of a new venture is the team, and the ability of that team to gel, and the ability of that team to find a way to create the right human interface to the market. And that takes time.

Duke: Not to dwell too long on the vision thing, but I think when Art’s talking about imagining the services or the technology, it’s worth taking time to imagine what everything would look like if it was up and running great. What would that look like?

Not just what jobs are people doing, but how do they interact with each other? How do they communicate with each other? How do you form a team that works in a way that benefits the goals of the company?

Markman: One of the important things about the theory of business incubation is the recognition that there’s time required, and that a company needs to be protected so that it minimizes the amount of money that it’s burning through, so the company can survive to the point where it really is mature enough to bring a product effectively to a market.

And you might say, Why does it require all this time?

But part of what you need to do is have the time to search through the space of ideas that will ultimately lead to the right gel of the product with the team and the market.

Another part of it is also giving you the time to lose your love affair with some of the initial ideas you had. Many new companies have a technology and an idea about how they’re going to approach the market that is not, ultimately, the one that’s going to be successful. But while you may be able to fall in love overnight, it’s hard to fall out of love overnight.

A lot of times, companies need a while to figure this out, and to listen to the advice which says you may need to re-think your overall strategy. So, putting yourself in a protective environment (in which you will both get that advice and be given the time to realize that, maybe, you weren’t 100% right to start with), that’s important.

Duke: And that requires creating a hierarchy of which features are central to the company. What are the defining features of who we are and what we do? And then, what other things elaborate those central features?

So, you’ve got this central idea which, without that, there is no company. But then there are these other surrounding things that support that idea, and those are the ones things that are the most amenable to either discarding or modifying in some way.

You’ve got to think about the whole thing. When Art says you can’t be too in love with your ideas and you need to let some ideas go, it’s because the path (from the first thought of all this, to a mature company) is not linear. It’s a mess in many ways.

And if you see every one of the diversions or digressions — when you have to back up and start again in this little part of what you’re doing — if you see every one of those as a catastrophe, you’re never going to get anywhere.

Because those are going to happen all the time.

When companies succeed, or any organization succeeds, it’s because they’re able to manage what happens at those times when, as a team, you realize, “We’ve been pursuing this path, but in actuality we now see that it’s a not good way to go.” And you come back and reset the goal.

Markman: And another parallel between creativity and business incubation is that, if you’re going to have creativity in an organization, it needs to be protected.

Part of the problem with being creative is that for large swathes of time, it doesn’t look like you’re getting anything done. Suddenly you have this idea and you go great guns on it, and then: Oh, it doesn’t work. Now you’re back to the drawing board.

And so you have to allow people who are engaged in creative pursuits to go through that horrible non-linear process, as Bob’s calling it. I think that’s a parallel with what’s happening with companies in the incubation phase. It would be easy if you could just give people a checklist. Something like: Have an idea (check); Find someone with business expertise (check); Determine the market value (check). It isn’t like that. I mean, people try to create these lists, but it doesn’t really work like that. There’s lots of fits and starts.

Sometimes the best thing that comes out of that exercise is a better idea of how to organize your team the next time you have a good idea. And that’s not a failure, necessarily.

I think the strongest entrepreneurial communities recognize that just because a particular venture failed doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. One of the reasons that Silicon Valley has been so successful (where many other areas haven’t) is in giving people the chance to learn from companies they were involved with that didn’t succeed. That makes them stronger the next time. Austin has done that effectively as well.

IC² Institute: Thus developing the serial entrepreneur…

Markman: …Who does not have only hits. And that’s true of creative people as well. As Bob likes to point out, the people who have the best ideas are the ones who have the most ideas, and a lot of those ideas are not so good.

[KUT producer Rebecca McInroy] and I were talking about Leonard Cohen, and Rebecca knows a lot of people who played with him. The thing is that I love Leonard Cohen, but he’s got some garbage. There are whole albums that are garbage. (Jazz Police? Really? I’ll forgive him, dear Heather, because he was just getting back into it!)

But he had a lot of ideas, and a lot of them were, of course, brilliant.

I think that’s true for creativity, but it’s also true for entrepreneurship. That’s why people need this protected space to do that in, and communities to do that in. It’s not just incubating in some region that has no entrepreneurial community.

It’s allowing those people to get involved in businesses, to then recycle themselves into the community, and make a contribution, even after a company fails or gets sold or reorganized.

Conclusions

In reflection, an important role of the business incubator is to provide sanctuary for the entrepreneurial team to “dream” if you will, and re-imagine the product, the roles of the team members, and both the internal and external “human interface” that will serve the market (and thus the company) best.

Accordingly, the task of the entrepreneur is to process new advice and new inputs against the original vision, and re-articulate the product so it is more meaningful to the market.

Writer, poet, and songwriter Leonard Cohen, said, “My ordinary state of mind is very much like the waiting room at the DMV… So to penetrate this chattering and this meaningless debate that is occupying most of my attention, I have to come up with something that really speaks to my deepest interests. Otherwise I nod off in one way or another. So to find that song, that urgent song, takes a lot of versions and a lot of work and a lot of sweat.”

The search for simple truths — stripping away the superfluous to find the essential — is a difficult task that, once accomplished, seems effortlessly apparent.

The business incubator provides the environment to help entrepreneurs focus on the essential questions as they creatively build a business case and an opportunity that speaks to the core of market need, but also inspires a team of people to pursue it to the end. This is a “lot of sweat.”

— Art Markman & Bob Duke with Greg Pogue & Margaret Cotrofeld

Listen to Two Guys on Your Head on KUT-FM or the Two Guys on Your Head podcast from NPR.

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ACC Bioscience Incubator now accepting applications

ACC Bioscience IncubatorThe Austin Technology Incubator and the IC² Institute have partnered with the Austin Community College District to launch the ACC Bioscience Incubator (ABI). The ABI is a world-class facility offering state-of-the-art biotechnology equipment, specialized wet lab space, conferencing areas, and staff to help companies transform scientific discoveries into the breakthrough products of tomorrow.

ACC is now accepting applications for the ABI wet lab facilities scheduled to open in February 2017.

The ACC Bioscience Incubator is part of phase II renovations at ACC Highland. The first such facility at a Texas community college, it will provide critically needed research space for life science companies to develop products such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices while providing educational programs, internships, and real-world training to ACC students. It is funded by ACC and Texas grant funding.

“Together, we are transforming biotechnology, medicine, and education in our region,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO. “Students experience hands-on learning and gain marketable skills that employers are seeking.”

ATI will provide strategic business mentoring and building within the ABI, including infrastructure development of systems, processes, governance, and network of key individuals and funders.

The facility offers:

  • Wet lab space: Single benches to full labs with over $1 million of advanced laboratory equipment and specialized clean rooms available to meet companies’ unique needs.
  • Startup business mentoring: Member companies own their research ideas and have access to business consultants, workshops, and industry partners.
  • Core laboratory and instrumentation: Central management of state-of-the-art shared biotechnology equipment and facilities.
  • Workforce education: Student internships and faculty collaborations.

If your company has a need for wet lab space, contact facility director Dr. Tyler Drake (tyler.drake@austincc.edu or 512-223-7436), or start the application process online.

For more information:

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IC² announces summer 2017 international internships for UT students

IC² Institute: entrepreneur collaborators in IndiaThe IC² Institute will sponsor an internship program for summer 2017 in coordination with its programs in India, Poland, and Korea.

Students from The University of Texas at Austin will work part-time at IC² offices for ten weeks (Jun 5 – Aug 11), and will spend two weeks (Aug 12-27) at IC² partner offices in either India, Poland, or Korea. Training and mentoring will be provided by IC² Institute managers.

Assignments will be related to assisting innovative businesses access international markets.

The Austin portion of the internship program will be paid, and travel and hotel expenses will be covered for the international portion.

Interested students should apply for the general internship opportunity and should rank their preferences for being placed in India, Poland, or Korea. Foreign language skills are not required. The application deadline is February 24, 2017.

For more information and to apply, see:

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New Fall/Winter 2016 IC² Institute Update is available

In this issue:

ic2-update-2016-12-cover-300x388

  • ATI graduating class receives over $220 million in funding
  • ATI nets support for student entrepreneurship: Blackstone LaunchPad and SEAL expansion
  • FASTForward Austin: acceleration for small business entrepreneurs
  • Austin entrepreneurship study moves ahead
  • XLr8 Andhra Pradesh: IC² opens business accelerator in India
  • ATI receives US Department of Commerce grant for Texas Smart Water
  • Bureau of Business Research celebrates 90 years
  • GCG creates opportunities in Texas for international technologies
  • New book: Rise of Rural Consumers in Developing Countries: Harvesting 3 Billion Aspirations by Vijay Mahajan
  • Nirankar Saxena of India named IC² Institute Fellow
  • “Two Guys on Your Head” on the psychology of creativity and business incubation
  • IC² Institute publications, Visiting Scholars, delegations, and more

Download it now.

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“Insight to Innovation: Processes and Impacts” 2017 Grant Solicitation

The IC² Institute announces a grant solicitation supporting research by UT Austin faculty around innovation and entrepreneurship. The submission deadline is February 15, 2017.

The “Insight to Innovation” grant solicitation provides funds supporting research collaborations to tenured and tenure-track faculty at The University of Texas at Austin to accelerate research around innovation and entrepreneurship as they relate to fields including, but not limited to: science and engineering, economics, business, arts and culture, and social sciences. The IC² Institute of The University of Texas at Austin anticipates funding 6-8 “Insight to Innovation” research projects of ~$25,000 in an ongoing effort to stimulate research by faculty across all disciplines at UT Austin focused on key topics of interest to the IC² Institute.

Application process: Applications must be submitted on-line via CompetitionSpace (https://utexas.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1756744) by 5:00p.m., Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Awards will be announced April 11, 2017. The CompetitionSpace portal will provide a download mechanism for the grant proposal, to be assembled in a single PDF document. Send questions to Coral Franke (coral@ic2.utexas.edu).

Eligibility: Only tenured and tenure-track faculty at The University of Texas at Austin may apply. Proposals that include IC² Institute research scientists as collaborators or engage IC² Institute projects or research priorities will be given priority. Download Grant Solicitation for more information.

Funds can be used for:

  1. Collaborative research conducted by UT Austin faculty
  2. Recruitment and support of students or post-doctoral researchers
  3. Data collection, supplies, research materials, and other related miscellaneous expenditures as they pertain to the research being performed
  4. Travel to relevant conferences for original research presentation
  5. Faculty salary requests can only comprise 50% of requested funds.

Reporting requirements: An interim (one-page) report will be due by September 15, 2017, and a final report (2 pages) will be due April 11, 2018. Each report should include a brief description of what was accomplished to date; a listing of papers submitted/published; relevant presentations; and proposals submitted or funded as a result of the funding received.

Review process: Applications will be evaluated by a committee of staff researchers and faculty.

Attachments:

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FASTForward 2016 pitches delivered at City Hall

The IC² Institute’s inaugural FASTForward small business entrepreneurship course wrapped up on November 30 with pitches delivered in Austin City Council chambers.

Presentations were made by mmmpanadas, Pro Lawn Cut, BASSBOSS, Crudo Terre, ReRoute Music Group, Austin EcoNetwork, Austin Art Services, Li’l Mama’s, It’s Cleaning Time, Concept 2 Conception, and Treasured Earth Foods.

Watch the presentations here.

FASTForward video

FASTForward is an intensive 12-week program designed to help small Austin business owners grow their revenues by leveraging innovation, creativity and capital to create a unique differential from their competition. It was developed by the IC² Institute together with the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

For information about future editions of FASTForward, please subscribe to the IC² mailing list.

FASTForward at City Hall Nov. 30 2016

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IC² Director Greg Pogue on what makes a good pitch

The IEEE Professional Communication Society asked IC²’s Greg Pogue to talk about lessons from his research with UT Austin Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Clay Spinuzzi on how to make an effective Pitch. Pogue and Spinuzzi hosted a session and panel at ProComm 2016.

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BBR Director Kellison to serve as President of AUBER

Bruce KellisonBruce Kellison has been named president of the Association for University Business and Economic Research (AUBER) for 2016-2017.

AUBER is a national group of university-based research centers which focus on regional economic development.

The IC² Institute’s Bureau of Business Research is a longstanding AUBER member and hosted its annual meeting in Austin in 2009. Kellison says he will work in the coming year on strengthening the benefits that members receive from the organization through publications and webinars on topics related to regional economic competitiveness, and he hopes to expand the number of member centers, especially in Texas.

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Austin Energy inspects power lines using drones and imaging tech from India

On October 6, Austin Energy tested a novel solution for inspecting power transmission lines from the air using drones and breakthrough imaging software from India. The software was provided by Arcturus Business Solutions, a participant in IC²’s India Innovation Growth Program (IIGP), which helps new technologies from India find applications around the world.

Arcturus’ pattern recognition algorithms compare images of new transmission equipment with images taken by drone to detect damaged tower components, hot spots and coronas, and even to measure line sag. Using the software also requires skilled drone pilots who are able to successfully navigate electromagnetic fields from transmission lines that can cause the drones to lose their GPS orientation.

If the test is successful, utilities have the potential to lower costs and improve the safety, speed and precision of inspections. Current inspection techniques require physical access by lineworkers or costly flyovers by helicopter.

Program Manager Jim Vance of IC²’s Global Commercialization Group has served as a mentor to Arcturus in developing its US business and helped arrange the test with Austin Energy. Arcturus and CEO Swati Tiwari competed through the India Innovation Growth Program for the opportunity to work with IC².

The IIGP program is funded by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). Its cumulative impact for the Indian economy through 2015 was $814 million according to an independent report produced by Ernst & Young. The IC² Institute has partnered with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to deliver this and previous programs.


KXAN: Austin Energy using drones to inspect transmission lines


KVUE: Austin Energy testing out drones that could inspect damaged power lines


Fox 7: Drones inspect power lines

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