3 Takeaways with Jim Baker of Michigan Technological University

Courtney Overbey

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Jim Baker, associate vice president for research administration at Michigan Technological University, leads the campus’ statewide Advanced Materials Innovation Hub MTRAC program.

Michigan Technological University (MTU) is one of four universities with an MTRAC (Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization) program across the state, joining the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. MTRAC Innovation Hubs are designed to help researchers bring products or ideas to real-world use.

Supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative, MTU works closely with the local SmartZone — Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC) — to provide a variety of resources that help entrepreneurs navigate the difficult process of launching and maintaining a successful high-tech startup in rural Michigan.

In the video, Jim shares his three takeaways for high-tech entrepreneurs in rural Michigan to be successful. Along with the three takeaways featured in the video, Jim provided additional tips for young entrepreneurs hoping to take their idea from concept to commercialization.

  1. Leverage the power of talent however you can access it throughout the community and elsewhere. Remember you need to build a team, but that team doesn’t have to be local — it can be virtual.
  2. Embrace the rural nature of where you are located, particularly as it relates to talent recruitment. If you reside in Northern Michigan, use it as an opportunity to bring and keep talent who want to experience what you’re doing in a great location.

Since 2015, MTU has helped hundreds of students take their startups from idea to launch through the commercialization of university-based technologies and programs like Idea Pitch Competition, New Venture Competition, Accelerate Michigan, Bob Mark Business Model Competition and Winter Wonderhack. In total, through MEDC’s MTRAC program, MTU has awarded more than $900,000 toward advanced materials projects from university researchers.

If you’ve got a high-tech start-up idea you’d like to explore further and don’t know where to start, contact the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative at 888-522-0103 or visit www.michiganbusiness.org/entrepreneurship.

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