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Utah’s Creation of a Univenture Oasis in the Desert 100+ university spin-outs in 5 years

A recipe for a successful univenture program – and some hurdles to beware of

This is the story of the rise and fall of a univenture program. It presents a fascinating double-barreled case study, with critical insights about how a univenture program can be made a success, and what pitfalls must be avoided to keep it sustainable over time – both very useful lessons for other universities.

In its heyday, the univenture program at the University of Utah in the previous decade was characterized by excellent outcomes – it tied MIT by creating over a hundred startups in some five years. And then came the winding down of the program. Dr. Krueger looks at the driving factors behind this story through a lens of four relevant elements:

  • Visible, vocal leadership that establishes a clear vision
  • Understanding and managing the local context
  • A culture supporting risk taking and entrepreneurship
  • Extensive ecosystem engagement

The article describes the inherent tension between a program leadership that repudiated “business as usual” and a bureaucracy that pushed back. As long as the first prevailed, the program saw excellent results; the eventual leaving of key drivers allowed inertia to take over again.

Full article PDF: 

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Please also see an interview with Nathan Chetrit and Matthew Gardner from the University of Utah TVC office, following up on the recent developments in Utah’s university venture endeavor. 

About the Author:

Dr. Norris Krueger – Research Fellow, Center for Global Business Research at the University of Phoenix; Founder, Entrepreneurship Northwest