Archive for February, 2012

Business Mentoring for Entrepreneurs

Cary, NC – Approximately 26,000 new companies are formed each year in North Carolina. In that same year, over 23,000 companies fail due to poor management and operational mistakes. The statistics are worse in rural and minority populations. This means that good ideas go to waste along with the grant and investor funds that helped get these companies started. As a result, the potential growth of revenue and new jobs is also lost.

If we had assistance for entrepreneurs who are struggling to create successful businesses, the failures should decline considerably. Entrepreneurs should be seeking out business mentors that can help them through the early years of their business. That’s what the Cary Innovation Center offers.

The Need for Entrepreneur Assistance

North Carolina has a comprehensive array of entrepreneurship education programs throughout the community college and university systems including various other private and public organizations. The problem is that we have little help for entrepreneurs once they have completed these programs and actually try to start a business.

The issue is that all of these entrepreneurs have need of business management and leadership expertise including:

  • Business strategy and planning to make sure their business is focused on a viable market with a winning product and/or service that has a competitive edge
  • Forecasting and financing ensuring that sales plans are realistic and that cash is well managed
  • Operational discipline and judgment to increase the chances of success by making fewer mistakes
  • Industry connections that can help accelerate the business and its operations
  • Start-up company experience that can instill the wisdom of what it takes to really start and manage an emerging business

Entrepreneurs often do not know where to turn to perform even the most basic things in creating and managing a business. They need help with such issues as:

  • Putting the legal and regulatory infrastructure in place for the company along with the necessary human resources programs
  • Financing the early months of the company in order to cover start-up costs, capital equipment and operating expenses, all before the company is cash flow positive
  • How to accomplish technology transfer and apply for patents and trademarks
  • Getting the necessary skills in place to execute their marketing and sales plans
  • Establishing industry relationships that will further enable sales and operational efficiency

The Cary Innovation Center Connects the Dots for Entrepreneurs

For the majority of the companies that fail, the missing ingredient that could have ensured their success is basic business operations “know-how.” This is the void that the mentors from EntreDot fill at the Cary Innovation CenterEntreDot provides business mentoring to entrepreneurs and helps them make the right decisions as they start and operate new companies.

EntreDot is a non-profit organization designed to increase entrepreneurs’ chances of success by providing them needed business wisdom, resulting in increased revenue as well as job growth. They identify potential high-impact businesses and support them through their early stages of business development. EntreDot matches the needs of these emerging entrepreneurs with their seasoned business executives who establish long-term mentoring relationships and are available whenever needed. Their services include:

  • Advising entrepreneurs on the viability of their business ideas, helping them to get on the right track from the beginning
  • Identifying research to understand their market opportunities, creating the in-depth understanding of their customer that is needed
  • Developing an effective business model and business strategy so they know how they are going to make money
  • Identifying marketing, sales, prototyping and financing needs to make sure the company has the right infrastructure to accomplish their sales goals
  • Helping establish appropriate business infrastructure so that the company has the necessary legal and regulatory infrastructure in place
  • Advising them on business operations so that the right support is in place for sales and customer support
  • Dealing with marketing and sales issues so that the hundreds of issues that always come up are properly dealt with
  • Identifying the needs for protecting intellectual property so that the company is not exposed to losing their differentiation and barriers to entry
  • Providing management guidance for their business decisions to make sure they are both thoughtful and effective
  • Referring entrepreneurs to business resources that will help them in both operations as well as reaching out t new customers and partnerships

Contact us at the Cary Innovation Center to learn more about how you can become one of our members and take advantage of our mentoring program.

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Cary Innovation Center Signs Lease

Photo by Hal Goodtree

The Cary Innovation Center is getting closer to the day we are open for business. We signed our lease with Ogle Enterprises. Lots of improvements have been made to the offices (painting, more furniture, carpet coming). We are getting the internet service and telephone system set up as you read this blog.

We have had a great deal of interest from entrepreneurs who would like to become a resident of the facility and take advantage of our business mentoring services as well as the many events, seminars and programs we have planned.

We are at the Center quite often, getting ready for our opening. Come on over to meet the team. We want to meet you all, especially entrepreneurs and people would like to be our sponsors.

Posted in: Downtown Cary, Latest News

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Technology Video: A Day Made of Glass

Story by Hal Goodtree. Republished with permission from CaryCitizen.

Cary, NC – For all futurists and fans of technology, you’ll want to watch this incredible video from Corning about the future of smart, durable glass. It will fundamentally change the way people live.

Corning Glass – More than a Baking Dish

So many iconic American companies have self-destructed that it sometimes obscures the long and continuing tradition of world-changing invention in the United States.

Case in point: Corning, founded in 1879. I visited the Corning Glass Works  in Elmira, NY with my parents when I was a teenager. I learned that they invented special lightweight, affordable glass for Thomas Edison and his light bulb.

But what have they done for us lately?

In the 1960′s, Corning helped NASA develop heat-resistant ceramics for rocket ships reentering Earth’s atmosphere. That invention was turned into a consumer product many of us have in our kitchens: Corningware.

Durable Smart Glass

Now, Corning is at the forefront of developing a new generation of smart, durable glass.

Smart glass is filled with electronics you cannot see. It responds to human touch and automatically connects itself to other electronic systems.

Durable glass has more of the tensile properties of steel than your window pane. Nearly indestructible, like Corningware.

The trick is to make it lightweight and affordable.

In the video, we see how durable smart glass could be used for displays the size of entire walls, smart tablets that are clear, windows that become displays or connect two rooms on opposite ends of the Earth.

In A Day Made of Glass 2, we see some amazing examples of how it could be used at home, in education, medicine, energy, transportation and more.

A Day Made of Glass 2

You can also see this video on YouTube.

The original Day Made of Glass 1 video, released last year, has had 17,000,000 views on YouTube.

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