Teaching Entrepreneurship – Look to TI:GER

February 11, 2013

in Education, Starting Up, Team Building

I’m very interested in the teaching of entrepreneurship and in the process of tugging talented people away from cookie cutter careers to risky startups. It’s something I think about every time we try to hire talented team members for AccelerEyes (and we’re doubling our team right now so I’m dealing with this topic on a daily basis). In most cases, we have to sell the concept of entrepreneurship just as much as we have to sell our company, compensation, and culture.

While I struggle with teaching entrepreneurship concepts to prospective hires, there are Atlanta institutions that do a great job at this. One of these gems is the Georgia Tech TI:GER program. This 2-year program pairs 1 Georgia Tech PhD student, 1 Georgia Tech MBA student, and 2 Emory Law students in a team to explore commercialization of the PhD student’s research.

The TI:GER program is different than Flashpoint, Venture Lab, and ATDC, which start with people already infected by the entrepreneurial bug. Rather, the TI:GER program attempts to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in people that are otherwise on professional tracks.

As a PhD student, I was part of TI:GER in 2007-2008. I loved it. Admittedly, I came into the program with more of an entrepreneurial bug than most, but my team was excellent and made the 2-years a delight. While part of the TI:GER program, we developed commercialization plans, wrote drafts for patents, did customer discovery, and vetted several different ideas before finally settling on AccelerEyes. We also had time to focus on business plan competitions, giving us a big advantage over other competing teams.

If you’re a PhD student at Georgia Tech, there is an information session this week discussing the application process (see announcement below).

TI:GER is doing a great job at tugging on talented students that otherwise would be singularly focused on careers in big companies, big universities, big law firms, or big consulting firms. While I imagine the majority of students that go through the TI:GER program do not launch startups immediately after graduation, they walk away with a bug that will affect their future careers and their propensity towards working in and with startups down the road.

How can we better to encourage entrepreneurship in our community?


Doctoral students are invited to attend an information session on the TI:GER (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) program on Thursday February 14, 2013. This unique program is designed for PhD students who are engaged in regular research programs, but would like to broaden and strengthen their knowledge in technological innovation. Students in the TI:GER program learn about intellectual property strategies, business processes, regulatory paths, and other topics that are critical to industrial application of fundamental research in science and engineering.

We would like to admit 5-8 new PhD students to enter the TI:GER program in Fall 2013. Our “target” student is one who has completed qualifying exams and has identified (and begun) research in a primary field of interest, are in their second or third year of their PhD program, and has an interest in commercialization and technology entrepreneurship.

A TI:GER program information session will be held Thursday, February 14th from 11:30a.m. to 1:00pm in Room 314 in the Scheller College of Business (800 West Peachtree Street) at Tech Square to explain the program in detail to prospective TI:GER participants.

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