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MBA Students Immersed in the Process of Commercializing Intellectual Property

technology commercialization group meetingA new program known as Tech2Market, developed for Idaho universities by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is being piloted at Boise State University this fall with support from the Idaho Technology Council.

As part of the program, teams of students draw from Boise State’s large bank of intellectual property created by students and faculty from the College of Engineering. Four teams were selected for the pilot and are made up of MBA candidates from Boise State’s College of Business and Economics and students who are researching the intellectual property from the College of Engineering.

Paul Cooperrider, technology commercialization program director for the Idaho SBDC, said it’s estimated that the impact from commercialized technology to the U.S. GDP over the past two decades from universities and public research institutions, like Boise State, is close to $600 billion.

“We believe this collaborative and multidisciplinary approach can open the door to a greater student experience while contributing to the state’s tax base and economic vitality,” said Cooperrider.

Sydney Axtell, an MBA candidate in the program, said she’s excited to be a part of it.

“Once you learn the process of starting a business, it’s addictive. I’ll jump on any potential project I can get my hands on just to experience that process in different industries and applications.”

MBA candidate Jessica Streib works with Axtell on a team.

“My experience with Tech2Market is related to customer discovery for a unique hydration sensor being developed by PhD Materials Science candidate, Twinkle Pandhi,” said Steib. “Sydney Axtell and I are working as entrepreneurial leads to uncover the best customer segments and/or industries for the sensor. Each week the results vary but we are moving closer to best use situations, which is very exciting. Our results come from hypothesizing, interviewing, and having Ed Zimmer from the Venture College and Paul Cooperrider from SBDC, guide the process.”

Eldar Sakebaev, MBA candidate, is working with fellow MBA student Sierra Morris (both are entrepreneur leads) and material science graduate student Andreas Savva is a principal investigator for the team.

“My job in the process is to figure out where the technology can be applied, find the customers’ pain points and narrow down the options,” explains Sakebaev. “We are working on improved chemistry of energy storage technology and potential commercialization of batteries. Tesla, Panasonic and other large corporations are pushing the boundaries in this arena and it is exciting to see what is happening in the battery field.”

Another students team is working on possible commercial uses for a smart antenna that allows for faster data rates, more secure connections and reuse of frequency spectrum. Team members are Billy Bateman and Ali Sharifi Shalmani are MBA candidates and entrepreneurial leads for the team; and Ahmed Kausar is an engineering PhD student and a principal investigator for the team.

If the Tech Push program is successful, the overarching Tech2Market program will be implemented at other state universities. The program is hosted and run by the Boise State Venture College through Tech Push.

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