January 10, 2006

Burton Morgan Center seminar focuses on business start-up funding

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Purdue University's Discovery Park will sponsor a seminar on Feb. 28 focused on how startup businesses and campus entrepreneurs can negotiate funding to launch a business.

Harvey Scull, former chief executive officer of KeyEye Communications and former chief technical officer at Tellabs Inc., will be joined by attorney and private-equity investor Jeffrey Warren of Eaglestone Partners for the seminar "How to Negotiate Company Funding for a Startup: The Term Sheet."

The seminar, which is free and open to the public, is from 9-11 a.m. in Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121, at 1201 W. State St. Online registration is available at http://www.purdue.edu/dp/bdm/termsheet/. Purdue students, faculty, staff and researchers will be given priority.

Julie Goonewardene
"Raising funds for a new company can be a difficult and daunting experience, but once potential investors are identified, the real work begins," said Julie Goonewardene, associate director of entrepreneurial programs and technology commercialization at Discovery Park. "Entrepreneurs need to be educated on how to negotiate the terms of a financial agreement so both parties can win."

The workshop, which is one of several Purdue events planned from Feb. 21 through March 4 in connection with the national Entrepreneurship Week USA effort, will provide answers to three primary questions for young entrepreneurs and university campus researchers:

• What are the key deal points facing a startup company?

• How can the entrepreneur and investor negotiate what each party wants?

• What does a fair term sheet look like?

"This workshop is designed to help the Purdue community understand the rules of the road so those who have commercially viable ideas that address society's grand challenges know where to turn and how to be successful in gaining funding," Scull said.

Goonewardene said a term sheet outlines the conditions of an agreement between an investor and entrepreneur. Term sheets often are as long as 25 pages and filled with jargon and legal provisions that can intimidate a fledgling entrepreneur.

"We're going to deal with the key issues an entrepreneur should care about to determine what the two parties are trying to achieve and what's fair," said Goonewardene, who holds a joint appointment between Burton Morgan and the Office of Technology Commercialization to ensure the smooth transfer of technology from Discovery Park to the Purdue Research Park.

Attendees also can participate in a role-playing exercise to learn how to negotiate a term sheet, Warren said. He noted that a term sheet is not a binding contract, so how the entrepreneur handles these negotiations is critical.

"At the end of the day, the investor is betting on the person, not just the idea, and the dynamics for discussing terms, as much as the substance, can make or break a deal," said Warren, who received his undergraduate degree from Purdue in 1978.

With the theme What's Your Big Idea? Take it On! the Entrepreneurship Week USA initiative is designed to serve as an inspiration for college students to think creatively and to turn their ideas into action — whether that means starting a new business, developing an innovation for an existing company or solving a problem that helps make society better.

Official events are being planned in cities and on university campuses, culminating in Washington, D.C, where the focus will be on the importance of policy to the nation's entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship Week USA is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and by government, not-for-profit organizations and businesses, including The New York Times and INC. magazine. Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives noted the importance of entrepreneurship education by enacting a resolution in support of a national entrepreneurship week.

On Dec. 15 Purdue was awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Kauffman Foundation to make entrepreneurship education a common and accessible campuswide opportunity for all college students. The grant to Purdue and the Burton D. Morgan Center is part of a $200 million effort to transform the way entrepreneurship education is taught in the nation's colleges and universities.

The other eight universities named Kauffman Campuses last month were Arizona State University, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, New York University, Syracuse University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Purdue was selected based on a series of criteria, including the ability to create a culture of entrepreneurship that permeates the campus, the potential to create new representative models, and the ability to collaborate with other foundations and partners. Discovery Park, Purdue's $330 million hub for interdisciplinary research, is home to 10 primary centers focusing on everything from biosciences and manufacturing to oncological sciences and health-care engineering.

The Burton D. Morgan Center is a platform to launch technology-based enterprises based on Purdue research, working closely with faculty, students and Indiana entrepreneurs to better understand how to bring research and technology to market.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Julie Goonewardene, (765) 494-8645, jkgoonewardene@prf.org

Jeffrey Warren, (781) 934-5910, jwarren@EAGLESTONECAP.COM

Harvey Scull, (630) 335-4194, harveys.messages@gmail.com

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in covering the two-hour seminar or wanting more information about Entrepreneurship Week USA activities at Purdue can contact Phillip Fiorini, Purdue News Service, at (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu.

Related Web sites:
Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship: http://www.purdue.edu/dp/bdm/

Entrepreneurship Week USA: http://www.entrepreneurshipweekusa.com/

Kauffman Foundation: http://www.kauffman.org/

Discovery Park: http://www.purdue.edu/dp/

Purdue Office of Technology and Commercialization: http://www.prf.org/otc/

 

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