How does being an entrepreneur fit in with an academic career? With funding often comes the necessity to provide case studies of how the funded research actually has impact. This is where entrepreneurship can play a role.
As detailed in another post, How Entrepreneurs and Academics are the Same, the methods and processes both go through are very similar, including hypothesis testing (idea validation) and publishing (startup!). But what is the relevance of entrepreneurship in academia? How does entrepreneurship fit within an academic setting?
Alan Marnett makes a great point in his post, “Professor? It’s ‘Academic Entrepreneur’ to You”, that,
“It all starts with a passion. A passion to cure a disease. A passion to make a better wheelchair. Whatever the pursuit, the vast majority of scientists and entrepreneurs are out to change the world in some way.”
Both academics and entrepreneurs have a vision of what they want for the future, whether it be a new business idea or new research.
Javier Garcia-Martinez writes about some of his experiences in “The Third Way: Becoming an Academic Entrepreneur”: “Academic entrepreneurs can have a real impact on society. Science and technology will be critical in our efforts to tackle the most urgent societal challenges, be it climate change, food security, or public health. But we need more people with the courage and technical knowledge to turn discoveries into an everyday reality. ” His experiences of being both an academic and entrepreneur highlight how one complements the other. As an academic, spinning out a company can help improve presentation and negotiation skills, solve broader technical issues, and manage time and teams better. As an entrepreneur, working in academia means keeping up with the latest research, and how to transfer that research into real world applications.