Sunday, February 22, 2009

Helping Entrepreneurs

The Memphis Bioworks® Foundation is creating an Entrepreneurship Development Organization called “TECworks” in Memphis Tennessee. Initial funding of $270,000 from the Memphis Bioworks Foundation will be used to launch TECworks. The funding is coming to the Foundation from the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation. The Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that was formed to help lead the collaboration between public, private, academic, and government entities so that the growth of the bioscience industry will accelerate in the region.

TECWorks will be led by Executive Director Jan Bouten. He was formerly a venture partner with Aurora Funds based in the Research Triangle area. Specifically, TECworks will offer education and mentoring to help entrepreneurs develop their products for the commercial sector, educate investors so that individuals and organizations can better evaluate opportunities, and create an Angel Network where qualified individuals can invest in business opportunities.
TECworks will develop a Grants Institute to focus on teaching businesses how to successfully identify, track, apply, and qualify for grants. Each year, the Federal government gives out more than two billion dollars in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to help technology companies commercialize new intellectual property. This training is needed in Tennessee because the state is the lowest ranked state for successful SBIR/STTR grant applications.

In another venture, Vanderbilt University has gone live with a new e-commerce web site called “VU e-Innovations” to enable users to purchase innovative software, courseware, and other digital products over the internet. The “VU e-Innovations” site features technologies developed exclusively at the university.

“After investigating similar web sites, we have determined that we are one of the first universities to set up an e-commerce site of this type,” said Peter Rousos, Senior Business Development executive in Vanderbilt’s Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development. He continued to say “Since hundreds of patents have been issued to Vanderbilt and the university has entered into numerous licensing agreements, we now realize that a number of them are suitable for online sales.”

For example, OLINDA/EXM listed on the site is a personal computer code that is capable of performing dose calculations and kinetic modeling for radiopharmaceuticals and can calculate radiation doses to go to different organs of the body from systemically administered radiopharmaceuticals.

For more information on VUe-Innovations, go to and for information on the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, go to