Managing the University in Transition
Chapter 5: Technostarters
5. Technostarters 5.1 MEET TECHNOSTARTERS Having discussed the way in which universities can collaborate with technology-based enterprises for generating know-how and creating innovations, in this chapter we will focus on the other way of bringing know-how to the market: through the establishment of new ﬁrms. Depending on who takes the initiative, the university itself or an entrepreneurial student or academic, we distinguish university spinouts and technostarters. Technostarters are students or academics who establish their own science- or technology-based ﬁrm. Technostarters are people who take the initiative and who are willing to take responsibility and risk. Together with the cum laude graduates and PhDs, they are the princes and princesses of the university and they should be treated as such. Successful technostarters persevere and are creative in ﬁnding solutions for the diversity of problems that occur on the road to a new enterprise.99 They are optimistic, subscribing to the phrase attributed to Walt Disney: ‘This goes to prove that nothing is impossible if you just put your mind to it.’ They are walking learning organisations, networkers who learn from others and from introspection, analysing their own progress: what went right and what went wrong and why. They have the instinct to spot combinations between technical possibilities and (latent) market needs. They have organisational talents and they are good recruiters; they can be charismatic as well as critical leaders and they have the skills to form a team.100 The dream of many technostarters is to lead their own life rather than being...
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