So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur? Enroll in INVisionU at IU

Don Scifres, Managing Partner

Don Scifres, Managing Partner

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, kids wanted to be cowboys, firemen, teachers, doctors, and nurses. (Or so I’m told.) Me personally? I wanted to be an astronaut. Now young people want to be entrepreneurs. Where did that come from?

Perhaps the inspiration is Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. What started in a dorm room by a kid is now a global phenomenon and Wall Street darling. Its stock is currently trading at $76 per share and Zuckerberg is a billionaire. Maybe it’s some other tech success. Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates is the wealthiest person on the planet. Likewise, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had a healthy bank account as well as the satisfaction of seeing his ideas impact the world. Who wouldn’t want that?

Whatever it is, many university students have a deep interest in becoming entrepreneurs. Recognizing this, the Indiana University of School of Informatics and Computing and VisionTech Partners recently signed an agreement to help IU students, faculty and staff realize this dream. We’re branding it “INVisionU.”

Bobby Schnabel is the dean of the IU School of Informatics and Computing and believes the agreement will help strengthen the innovation ecosystem at IU. He points to the brilliant minds at IU, who with a little coaching and real-world knowledge, just might create and commercialize the next transformative technology. All they need is a little help from their friends at VisionTech.

The format is simple. Once a month, I will be meeting with IU Bloomington students and faculty one-on-one to discuss their information technology-based ideas and/or technology. The sessions are free, and the goal is to identify opportunities with merit and then provide mentoring support, practical business formation information, insight from a “real” entrepreneur, and eventually provide industry and/or investor connections.

I am pleased to report that all registrations for the initials January INVisionU sessions were filled less than 24 hours from posting and the February time slots are quickly filling up. This is a clear validation of the tremendous desire and pent-up demand for this innovative new program.

Why is VisionTech doing this? One reason is that the mission of VisionTech Partners and VisionTech Angels is to serve as the convergence point for inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, universities, and strategic partners to develop, fund, and launch innovative technologies. The second reason is more personal. Finding “diamonds in the rough,” whether inventor or the technology itself, is my passion. I enjoy making things happen.

And who knows, we might discover the next Facebook, Microsoft or Apple.