University Of Idaho Supporting Entrepreneurial Success
Committed To Supporting Entrepreneurial Success
The University of Idaho, Idaho’s land-grant university, shows a remarkable commitment to fostering the success of both the Palouse region and Idaho as a whole. Jeremy Tamsen, Director of the Office of Technology Transfer, works with field experts and a range of government and civilian organizations “with the goal of taking University innovations from the lab to the marketplace.”
Both the U of I College of Business and Economics and the Idaho Entrepreneurs Group work to fulfill the U of I’s goal of creating a thriving entrepreneurial and therefore economic climate in our region through hosting several business plan competitions and other entrepreneurial challenges, creating opportunities for training, networking, and general assistance for aspiring and established entrepreneurs across the state.
It is this commitment that led the university to get involved with Palouse Knowledge Corridor’s™ BTE Bootcamp™ in the first place. George Tanner, Idaho Entrepreneur Director and Instructor, said of the program:
“The PKC™ is a consortium of all of the economic and civic development groups in the Palouse region. The University of Idaho saw an intersection of our economic development interests and what the PKC™ was doing, and so we engaged the PKC™ to further our interests and those of the region we serve… The University of Idaho [is one of the hosts of] BTE Bootcamp™ each year, Idaho Entrepreneurs developed the curriculum and provided the speakers and mentors, and our new venture teams participate in the program.”
The University of Idaho’s commitment has made an undeniable impact on the thriving economic climate of the Palouse.
“[The Palouse is] known in the Pacific Northwest for being more innovative and having a stronger startup posture than any of our peer institutions, giving us an edge in resource development, funding opportunities for our student startups, and a reputation for excellence” said Tamsen.
Read more from Tamsen and Tanner in their magazine-style interview below.
Q: First, please briefly tell us about the mission of the University of Idaho, and your role there.
The University of Idaho is Idaho’s land-grant University, and the premier educational research institution in the state of Idaho. As the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer, I consult with researchers, lawyers, industry members, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations with the goal of taking University innovations from the lab to the marketplace. Reporting to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Janet Nelson, I am responsible for creating and executing strategies to broaden the commercial and educational impacts of research conducted at the University of Idaho.
Q: What is the entrepreneurial philosophy of the University of Idaho?
The vision of Idaho Entrepreneurs, the College of Business and Economics, and by extension the University of Idaho is to “develop tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and build the framework for a modern Idaho.” We create an entrepreneurial climate across Idaho’s economy by transforming ideas and innovations into marketable products and services, establishing and enabling entrepreneurial networks to effectively transfer new technology to Idaho’s industries and businesses, and developing work-ready graduates equipped with globally competitive ideas for new products, services, and infrastructure. Through these initiatives, the University of Idaho and its graduates create new economies in Idaho, and transform existing industries to maximize the benefits to the state and its citizens.
Q: How does U of I work to foster economic and entrepreneurial development in our community?
The University of Idaho’s College of Business and Economics, and the Idaho Entrepreneurs group is engaged in many ways across the state and region. By hosting business plan competitions and other entrepreneurial challenges, these groups enhance opportunities for training, networking, and development assistance for entrepreneurs anywhere in the state. Further, the University has extension agents in every county in Idaho, delivering training and tools to bolster the success of businesses throughout the state. The University engages communities by providing representatives to boards, economic development consortiums and organizations, while engaging students in a multitude of research projects that benefit business, agriculture, the environment. The research conducted at our institution results in new businesses based around new technology, and opportunities for existing companies to license newly developed innovations. Our dedicated faculty members consult with businesses to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and profitability, while our young entrepreneurs develop ideas, create innovations, and spin out companies through our entrepreneurial programs.
Q: Why did U of I decide to get involved with the Palouse Knowledge Corridor and the BTE Bootcamp™, and to continue their involvement? What is the value that you have seen of BTE Bootcamp™ for our region? In what ways have you seen BTE Bootcamp™ impact the Palouse?
Since joining the University of Idaho in November, 2016, I have served on the Board of the Palouse Knowledge Corridor™, and I have been working closely with George Tanner of the College of Business and Economics. In the past, George has led the University of Idaho’s engagement with the Be The Entrepreneur Bootcamp™. In his words,
“The PKC™ is a consortium of all of the economic and civic development groups in the Palouse region. The University of Idaho saw an intersection of our economic development interests and what the PKC™ was doing, and so we engaged the PKC™ to further our interests and those of the region we serve. With our leadership, the PKC™ has developed the BTE Bootcamp™ and turned it into a signature economic development event for the region. The University of Idaho hosts the camp each year, Idaho Entrepreneurs developed the curriculum and provided the speakers and mentors, and our new venture teams participate in the program. Additionally, the University, the College of Business and Economics, and our Idaho Entrepreneurs group provide sponsorship money to the BTE Bootcamp™. As a result, our students have benefitted, companies have been launched, and strong new partnerships have developed which help the Palouse and our students. Each year 40 to 50 participants go through the camp and learn the intricacies of launching and managing a startup company. As a result, investment dollars have flowed to some of the campers, and new businesses have started that would not have succeeded otherwise. The BTE Bootcamp™ is a nice complement to what Idaho Entrepreneurs does on campus with our students and faculty.”
Q: Why should our local government, organizations, and businesses support entrepreneurial development?
At the core of economic growth is the capacity for new and existing businesses to seize existing economic opportunities, and their ability to create new economies centered around technological advances. These growth drivers require the dedication of resources to entrepreneurial development and to research activities that change the technological landscape. Economic growth drives down unemployment and bolsters tax revenues, leading to an increase in the quality of life within our state. In Idaho, businesses enjoy a low tax burden, good access to crops, timber, and other raw materials, and a burgeoning workforce of educated and skilled individuals; entrepreneurial development stitches all of these things together to drive economic growth.
Q: Why is the Palouse special? What makes it an economic powerhouse?
George Tanner and I agree that one of the reasons we are ‘special’ is the close proximity of two land grant universities. There is a tremendous, and often untapped, research potential here that can result in more spinouts and licensing of technology. The PKC™ and BTE™ are aimed at developing more of that. As a result of the University of Idaho’s involvement in the initiatives, our network of associates in the region and beyond has increased dramatically. The university and George’s programs have much stronger relationships in Spokane, Coeur D’Alene, and Boise, as well as Seattle because of our reliance on those entrepreneurial networks to provide expertise for the camp. These connections have grown the reputation of our students and our institution as a major player in entrepreneurship and start-ups. We are known in the Pacific Northwest for being more innovative and having a stronger startup posture than any of our peer institutions, giving us an edge in resource development, funding opportunities for our student startups, and a reputation for excellence.