Aug 24, 2012

by Michael MacRae

Idea Cloud

Over history, engineering innovations have powered economic growth and sustained whole industries. But idea-generation has to be nurtured - and nurturing requires resources.

The resources you need are right here.

You'll find how and how to give your ideas wider exposure.

You'll find information and technology you can tap.

And you'll find a network of like-minded professionals who can help you transform your ideas into reality.


Do you have an idea for a new or enhanced ASME product, program or service? Learn how to develop innovative opportunities in partnership with ASME.

Videos and Podcasts

Get it from the experts: best practices, tips and resources to help you launch new products and new businesses. Topics include:

  • Intellectual property best practices
  • University technology incubators
  • SBIR grants
  • Venture capital
  • Social entrepreneurship.



Steven P. Nichols, Ph.D., Director, The Chair of Free Enterprise and Founder, I2P Competition, The University of Texas at Austin. Protecting your idea is critical to your business success. This conversation will help you decide whether to patent it. Play video >


Charles E. Ross, Assistant Director of Growth Initiatives, Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center. Technology incubators can accelerate the formation of companies out of university-born technologies. Play video >


Amos Winter, 2010 ASME IShow Winner, Founder & Director of the MIT Mobility Lab. A new breed of engineering entrepreneur is developing solutions to global social problems. Learn more about opportunities and challenges in social entrepreneurship. Play video >


Fred Patterson, President & CEO, The Commercialization Funding Coach. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards are federally-funded grants that can be prime funding sources for your high-tech business. Learn the secrets of winning SBIR awards from an expert. Play video >


Kef Kasdin, General Partner, Battelle Ventures. Venture capital plays a key role in funding technology companies. Tune into advice from a venture capitalist on how best to get investor support. Play video >


Ned Staebler, Vice President of Capital Access and Business Acceleration, Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Every state has an economic development office designed to promote in-state business growth and job creation. Learn what states are doing. Play video >

Interviewer: Richard A. Bendis, President and CEO, Innovation America


These interviews were recorded during the State Science & Technology Institute's (SSTI's) 13th Annual Conference, held October 21-23, 2009. For more information on SSTI, visit

Dan Berglund, President & CEO, SSTI.

A discussion of the challenges to states and regions posed by the economic downturn, and the role investment in innovation can play in recovery. Podcast >

Joni Cobb, President, KTEC PIPELINE.

Learn about the KTEC PIPELINE, the first program of its kind in the nation, which identifies talented and entrepreneurial Kansans and matches them with best-in-class training, research and mentors. Podcast >

Monica Doss, Director, FastTrac, Kauffman Foundation.

Want to be an entrepreneur? Whether you're starting or growing a business, FastTrac programs will help you live your dream at each stage of growth. Podcast >

Marc Stanley, Director, Technology Innovation Program, National Institute of Science & Technology.

The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) supports and accelerates U.S. innovation through high-risk, high-reward research in critical areas. Podcast >

Interviewer: Richard A. Bendis, President and CEO, Innovation America

Business Planning Tools

Checklist for starting a business.

If you've been in business before, you may carry this checklist in your head. If not, here's a helpful list.

Due diligence checklist.

You've identified some potential investors in your startup. The next step is due diligence – a systematic review in which investors assess potential risks and opportunities.

Types of business organizations.

One of your first decisions will be to choose your company's legal structure. There are several options, each with pluses and minuses.

Glossary of business terms for entrepreneurship & startups.

In planning your startup you're likely to encounter new and unfamiliar business terms. This list can help jump-start your learning process.

Angel investors.

Business angels are high-net-worth individuals or partners who exchange their capital – and often their expertise – for equity in startup businesses. Angels often form clubs or networks that invest through a common fund. Each angel typically contributes $50,000 to $250,000 a year. Some funds employ professional managers who screen deals, perform due diligence and negotiate investment terms with entrepreneurs.


Angelsoft is an online system that connects your startup with networks of angel investors.

About valuation.

If you decide on equity capital, or a mix that includes it, you will need to address the market value of your business based on its potential future earnings. Pre-money valuation is the value of the company prior to investment; post-money valuation, its value after the investment.

Choosing the Right Valuation Model

Plan Cruncher.

Plan Cruncher asks questions about key issues such as the management team, product and revenue plan. It uses icons to represent concepts such as "advertising-based revenue model" or "we have a working demo." While the user selects from standard options, there are also free-text sections that allow some latitude.

Plan Cruncher doesn't replace the traditional business plan, but it can be a useful first filter for investors. It's free to use, and it carries a "creative common license" so it can be modified and reused in other applications and publications. Essentially, this means you can create your own business-plan format using the icons.

Cisco eTube.

This resource offers hundreds of free videos on business and entrepreneurship. Topics include inspiration, entrepreneurial tips, technology and many more.

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