Dave Neal is taking insights gained from reading a recent book about entrepreneurship to heart.
The co-founder and partner of the Triangle Startup Factory says the new business accelerator in Durham is teaming up with the Triangle’s universities to put on a program designed to help university students become successful entrepreneurs.
The program, titled Triangle.edu, kicks off Jan. 16 at NCSU’s College of Textiles on the Centennial Campus.
Neal, writing in a blog at Triangle Tech Talk which is run by his Startup Factory partner Chris Heivly, says the inspiration for the event came from reading “Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City” by Brad Feld.
“In recent weeks I’ve hosted tours of the American Underground for interested students from Duke’s Fuqua School, spoken to the Venture Capital Club at Duke, the Entrepreneurship Minor students at UNC,” Neal wrote.
“At each event I meet several students who want to know more about the RTP entrepreneurial ecosystem. As energizing as this is, we know there are more students out there especially from the Computer Science and Engineering departments.
“We need a community catalyst.”
Thus Triangle.edu was born, he said.
“To address this need, TSF will plant the first seed and will partner with other interested entities to convene students from the local universities with regular events.”
The program will include a variety of speakers about their own “personal journeys into entrepreneurship,” Neal said. His goal is to conduct events semi-annually at the beginning of each semester with Triangle universities rotating as hosts.
Feld’s book made three points about entrepreneurship and universities that Neal said factored into his thinking.
“1. A community catalyst: a nerve center where the startup community convenes and information spillover occurs;
“2. A magnet, teacher and pipeline for the next generation of entrepreneurial talent into the region; and
“3. A source of insight, ranging from innovative ideas that can be commercialized, to broad and fundamental understandings about what makes startups as well as startup companies work.”
The Startup Factory is already having a major impact on the Triangle in terms of new company development and encouragement of entrepreneurs.
Two “classes” of companies have already graduated from TSF’s rigorous months-long program of training, mentoring and education. These firms also benefited from $50,000 in startup funding – a scarce commodity – and potential investments beyond that.
Plus, more entrepreneurs see a possible route to success since TSF simply exists in the Triangle as a potential investor, partner – and now, educator.
Heivly and Neal hinted at the most recent “Pitch Day” for its graduates that more news would be coming from TSF in coming months beyond recruitment and screening of its next round of companies. Triangle.edu is a promising kickoff to those developments.
Registration for Triangle.edu is now open.