Wednesday, May 12, 2010

IP Marketing Advisor Discusses "Operation Bootstrap"

SIU combines tech fair with entrepreneurship training in "Operation Bootstrap"

Many universities sponsor showcases to give inventors the opportunity to present their technologies to potential investors and partners. A growing number also sponsor courses on entrepreneurism to prepare would-be start-up leaders for the real world. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale has taken an approach that combines both strategies. Its most recent innovation showcase was preceded by a 12-week course, many sessions taught by alumni and others who have achieved entrepreneurial success. The structure of the course was based on FastTrac TechVenture, a program developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“About two years ago one of our offices of economic development’s entrepreneurship committee got funding for entrepreneurial training for low- to moderate-income folks,” recalls Kyle Harfst, PhD, MBA, executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park and director of technology & enterprise development at SIU Carbondale. The new program, dubbed Operation Bootstrap, followed the Kauffman model, and though it was limited by income requirements it “piqued some interest” in the university community.

The Kauffman program, explains Lynn Andersen, MBA, director of business and research in SIU’s Office of Economics and Regional Development, is designed specifically for the type of group she and Harfst had in mind — university-based scientists. Kauffman offers training and certification to allow others to offer its training. Individuals who achieve certification are then eligible to purchase the curriculum and facilitate their own program. The cost of the course, she says, ranges from $1,200 to $1,500 per participant. A detailed article on the program appears in the May 2010 issue of Intellectual Property Marketing Advisor. For subscription information, CLICK HERE.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Entrepreneurship Training: Operation Bootstrap begins June 19

Operation Bootstrap adds orientation sessions

The Saluki Times
April 27, 2010
By Christi Mathis 04/27/2010

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- If owning your own business sounds appealing, the entrepreneurship team from Southern Illinois University Carbondale could be just what you need to make that dream come true.

Operation Bootstrap, the entrepreneurship program serving 16 Southern Illinois counties, is so popular in 2010 that the University’s entrepreneurship team is adding several new orientation sessions to the schedule. That assures that everyone considering signing up for the next session of the training program this summer can find out all about it and how they could qualify for free training and for grant funding.

The SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development’s Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit pairs with the Delta Regional Authority to offer “Operation Bootstrap: Seeding Southern Illinois Start-ups” to unemployed or underemployed low- and moderate-income people. Each of the new May informational sessions includes a 30-minute presentation giving an overview of Operation Bootstrap. Those attending may also ask questions and if they want to pursue the training opportunity, they can complete a program application and interview.

The next session of Operation Bootstrap begins June 19 in Du Quoin with graduation set for Aug. 18. The 12-session training program provides participants with the skills they need to begin and sustain their own business. And, those successfully completing the whole program and creating business plans can compete for up to 15 seed capital grants of up to $3,000 each.

The program is open to those living in Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Pope, Johnson, Hardin, Union, Jackson, Williamson, Randolph, Perry, Franklin, Hamilton, White, Gallatin and Saline counties. The first three rounds of Operation Bootstrap produced 102 graduates and interest is so strong this year, organizers have scheduled four new orientation overviews preceding the summer training program.

Here’s the schedule for the additional orientation sessions:

• Tuesday, May 4, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Du Quoin City Hall, 302 E Poplar St.

• Thursday, May 6, 9-10 a.m., Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, Carbondale.

• Tuesday, May 11, 10-11 a.m., Franklin Hospital Conference Room, 201 Bailey Lane, Benton.

• Thursday, May 13, noon-1 p.m., Du Quoin City Hall, 302 E. Poplar Street. Participants can enjoy a free box lunch during this session only but must RSVP to 618/453-2070 no later than May 11 if planning to attend.

For more information about the Operation Bootstrap program or orientation sessions, contact the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development at 618/453-2070 or e-mail, or visit the website at