(news) tech boot camp resized

Over 200 students attended a technology entrepreneur boot camp Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Business Building’s Richard Liu Auditorium. The boot camp focused on important entrepreneurial topics such as business planning, manufacturing a product, securing start-up funds and marketing innovative ideas.

The biannual boot camp was hosted by the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). Established in 2006, CITE is an interdisciplinary center in the College of Business and College of Engineering that focuses on disseminating the basic building blocks of entrepreneurial activity through short courses, internships, projects and competitions.

Dr. Anita Leffel, Professor in Entrepreneurship and Assistant Director of CITE, clarified the goal of the boot camp for UTSA students aspiring to be entrepreneurs.

“These students are nascent entrepreneurs. They have great ideas and they are working in teams of engineer and business students, but they do not quite know exactly what it takes to take that technology from the lab and out to the consumer,” said Leffel.

“This boot camp is the beginning of their semester-long study of taking a product to the market.”

This rigorous crash course was held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It consisted of speakers informing the attendees of specific matters such as legal issues, manufacturing, business plan and pitch and small business development resources. Speakers included Gordon Bennett, a Fluorescent Microscopist for Biomoda; Stephanie Chandler, a Jackson Walker attorney and Morrison Woods, Director for San Antonio SBDC.

The keynote speaker was Peter Savas, Chief Executive Officer of StemBioSys, Inc., a stem cell company based in San Antonio. Savas talked about many important practices from his perspective as a CEO and venture capitalist. Speaking about three important stories of his life, he explained that as a CEO or entrepreneur it is important to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Savas continued by explaining that the most important thing as an entrepreneur is not necessarily what you know, but who you know.

He clarified to the public that his success in biomedical companies was due to the fact that he surrounded himself with smart people that helped his companies flourish.

Jorge Franco, Peter Mancuso, Nic Villarreal and Steve Perez from the Palm Keg Group, a group of mechanical engineering students, attended to learn how to market their products.

Although hesitant to completely describe their product, they did briefly describe the concept as being a handheld pressurized keg that has the ability to keep a beverage from going flat.

The Palm Keg Group is hoping to compete in the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition later this spring, a competition for undergraduate UTSA students to create a new technology product and a business plan for commercialization of the product.

“We could adjust the product to accommodate to sodas and market it towards different things, but we put a lot of work towards beer,” said The Palm Keg Group.

For many aspiring entrepreneurs at UTSA, the boot camp was the starting point to the $100K Student Technology Competition on April 29.

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