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Oklahoma Catalyst Researchers Program Teaches Students How to Launch a Business

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Oklahoma Catalyst Researchers Program Teaches Students How to Launch a Business

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The Tom Love Innovation Hub held its inaugural Oklahoma Catalyst Researchers Program this summer with 29 graduate students from the University of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa. The participants explored how to launch a business based on their graduate research.

The 10-week program taught participants about crucial concepts in entrepreneurship, such as intellectual property issues, identifying target markets, defining your product and startup financing. Each week guest speakers with extensive background in business, entrepreneurship, venture finance and legal issues were featured. Speakers included Elaine Hamm, chief executive officer of Ascend Bioventures; John Nelligan, co-founder of Roserock Capital; Matt Jones, co-founder of Verge Law; and others.

“The program has broadened my view of the integration of business and science and sparked my interest in entrepreneurship,” Christina Crowder, OUHSC graduate student.

The students were selected for the program from more than 90 applications. At the start of the program, only about five percent of the participants had seriously thought about starting a business. By the end of the program, more than 71 percent of the students indicated that they were now very likely to launch a business based on their research.

“After this program I feel better equipped to recognize, investigate and improve the startup potential of technologies I may research.  In particular, I have a better understanding of the process of identifying customers and incorporating their feedback into product development,” said Andrew Byrd, OU graduate student.

The Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, an office of the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma, are funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information about this and other upcoming programs, contact Tom Wavering, executive director, Tom Love Innovation Hub,

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