It is important when thinking about starting your own company that you evaluate both the risks and benefits of such an endeavor.
Benefits of Start-Ups
Start-ups have the potential to produce significant opportunities for the owner(s), the University, and the surrounding community. Given the right set of circumstances, start-ups can:
- bring a technology to market more quickly than can be done at a large company
- create jobs within the local community and region
- increase the value of a technology to outside partner companies by completing proof-of-concept studies or by making prototypes
- diversify the financial return risk with an equity stake/ownership in the business (the University can benefit from the business success of more than just their own technology)
- aid University research and faculty retention
Considerations For Forming A Start-Up Company
A few key risk factors when considering a start-up company are:
- development risk (often large companies in established industries are unwilling to take the risk)
- development costs versus investment return (is the company adequately funded and can the investors obtain their needed rates of return)
- potential for multiple products or services from the same technology (few companies survive on one product alone, but a startup company must focus on a few initial opportunities)
- sufficiently large competitive advantage and target market
- potential revenues sufficient to sustain and grow a company
Ultimately, starting a new company can often be one of the most rewarding experiences of any researcher’s career. In some instances, forming a new business entity can also be the most efficient way to bring a product into the commercial market. Start-up companies typically specialize in the concentrated development of a few key technologies rather than having a broad focus on many technologies. In all cases, starting your own company requires resourcefulness and creativity, a competitive spirit, a strong desire to succeed financially, and a great deal of commitment.
Guide to the MURA Process
How Our Office Facilitates Company Creation by Faculty, Staff and Students
For faculty, staff and students interested in starting their own companies in order to further develop technology owned by the University of Mississippi, it is important to know that this can be accomplished by following a few steps before you get started. The ORSP Office of Technology Commercialization provides support for personnel who want to create companies around the products and technologies which they discover and/or develop while working at the University of Mississippi. A key consideration in the formation of a company is the potential for a conflict of interest. Interested individuals should discuss their company plans with the Director of Technology Commercialization early in the process and should review The University of Mississippi Objectivity in Research Policy to become familiar with the potential conflict of interest issues.
The State of Mississippi is supportive of the creation of companies based on technologies discovered and/or developed by faculty, staff and students at Mississippi universities. The Mississippi University Research Authority Act (MURA, Mississippi Code 37-147-3) addresses the potential for a conflict of interest that occurs when an employee of the university wishes to have a material financial interest in a private entity which provides or receives equipment, material, supplies or services in connection with the university in order to facilitate the transfer of technology developed by the employee of the university to commercial enterprises for economic development.
Steps to Completing the MURA Process
The MURA Process should be completed prior to, or shortly after, a company is formed and requires the following actions:
- Preparation of an application to MURA using the MURA Form that initiates this process. The Director of Technology Commercialization will assist the employee in completing this form, meet with the employee to explain the process and discuss licensing of technology from the University to the company.
- After all appropriate signatures are received, the Chancellor submits the MURA application on behalf of the University employee to the Mississippi University Research Authority Board of Directors.
- Once the review is completed by the MURA Board, the employee will be notified by the Office of Technology Commercialization as to the approval or denial of the application. It is important to note that annual reports are required to MURA regarding the status of company operations and any material changes. The employee will be contacted each June by the OTC staff to provide any details relevant to this report.
The University of Mississippi is committed to ensuring that the discoveries made at our institution reach their fullest potential –whether that be scholastic or entrepreneurial. Below are some examples of the companies created by UM faculty and staff, as well as start-up companies based on technologies licensed from UM by outside parties.
Collie Home Health
Computational Hydro-Engineering Technology, Inc.
ElSohly Laboratories, Inc.
HomeSafe Inspections, Inc.
Medical Marketing Economics, LLC
Phytochemical Services, Inc.
NORM Solutions, LLC
Businesses Based On Licensed Technologies
Links for Start-Up Companies
Company Creation Resources (including sample business plan)
- University of Mississippi Small Business Development Center
- The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)
Economic Development and Funding Resources
- Southeastern Universities Research Association – SURAfund Initiative
- Tennessee Valley Authority Economic Development
- MyBiz Entrepreneur Network