Not all business ideas are created equal. Identifying those that will thrive in the marketplace is a crucial skill for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Oregon MBA students looking to develop this skill have a powerful resource on their side: the University of Oregon's Technology Entrepreneurship Program (TEP).
Each summer, MBA candidates selected for the program join with students from the UO's graduate programs in science and law to work side-by-side evaluating newly developed technologies.
Hands-on experience digging deep into an unfamiliar technology is one part of the value this experience provides. Teamwork is another.
"Our MBA students get to have real-live experiences with a team that simulates what you would have at a company," said Lundquist Center of Entrepreneurship program manager Nathan Lillegard. "You're dealing with the legal department, you're dealing with the technical department. You've got to be able to speak across nonbusiness-school populations."
Six teams participated in TEP this year. In mid-August, the teams presented their findings to an audience of researchers, business and law faculty, and entrepreneurs.
Lauren Loepp, MBA '14, was a member of the team that received this year's award for best presentation. Together with law student Derek Hopp and chemistry graduate student Kurtis Fairley, Loepp assessed the potential of a new type of fuel cell--a technology developed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, a part of the United States Department of Energy's national laboratory system.
Though it's early to tell for sure, Loepp predicts that she'll be able to take the fuel technology to the next stage via New Venture Planning, the college's business planning course.
"While there are still a few contacts we need to confirm with in order to feel confident in its potential success, we believe this technology would be a good one for New Venture Planning," said Loepp.
View photos from this year's TEP presentations.