Author: Lynn Makela

Savvy Entrepreneur Workshop: Intellectual Property (IP) Protection: It’s more than an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)

If you have a business idea that you want to protect but don’t understand all the issues, next Tuesday’s Savvy Entrepreneur session is for you. The series features best practices sharing via 2-Way Interactive Web Conferencing. At this event you’ll learn key Strategic Intellectual Property Management Practices, including how to navigate through the dreaded Non-Disclosure Agreement with customers and partners. Learn why and how to protect one of your business’s most valuable assets affordably from local leading entrepreneurs and specialists. Bring your questions to this program to advance your technology entrepreneurship skill set.

A panel of successful entrepreneurs, investors and subject matter experts will share the best practices and experiences dealing with one of the biggest challenges and biggest critical success factors to launch or grow your company. The forum will include insights from the panelists followed by a moderated question and answer session to address your specific start-up commercialization or growth questions.

The event is sponsored by Michigan Tech’s office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, School of Business and Economics, and the Houghton SmartZone and the Keweenaw Alliance For Economic Development.

This event will take place at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the conference room of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Technology and Development Center at 1402 E. Sharon Avenue, followed with a panel discussion from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information on the workshop, contact Mike Morley 487-3485 or

Boots to Briefcases: Veterans as Entrepreneurs

School of Business and Economics researcher hopes to help vets become entrepreneurs.

As one million veterans return to the American workforce, some will venture into entrepreneurial employment, either as leaders or team members. One Michigan Technological University professor wants to find out if there is a difference between their initial interest and overall success compared to the general population; then he wants to give them a hand.

Saurav Pathak, Rick and Jo Berquist assistant professor of innovation and entrepreneurship in the School of Business and Economics, seeks to create a data set that will tell him how many returning veterans are going the entrepreneur route.

He’s aiming high, too.

President Barack Obama sent an encouraging response to his email request for support. No money came with it, but Pathak will continue to try to secure federal funds, especially given the administration’s Joining Forces initiative that seeks to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.

“I’ll first look at the skill set the veterans bring back with them,” he says. “There is some thought that the Air Force veterans have more technical background, for example, than Army or Navy veterans.”

Part of his research project, which is currently sponsored by the Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund (REF), seeks to build more awareness and future connections between the Veteran’s Affairs Office, the University (including ROTC programs) and veterans themselves.

“These [REF] projects are funded as seed grants to help new faculty get their research programs underway,” says Dave Reed, vice president for research. “Typically, they are early stage or preliminary. Saurav’s work is a great example of these projects, and our faculty do a wonderful job of using results from these projects to leverage further funding.”

Pathak’s focus is on what hinders the veterans from beginning or succeeding as entrepreneurs.

“In Michigan alone, there are some 700,000 veterans,” he says. “And on campus there are about 90 veteran students and another 90 faculty and staff, mostly staff. If we can harness just a small percentage of them in a University center for entrepreneurship, we can help them succeed and propel Michigan Tech and the community into prominence at the same time.”

Pathak’s research grant expires in July 2013, so he wants to have the additional funding and a more defined project ready to launch by then.

“ROTC has shown great interest,” he says, “and we will be traveling to the Ishpeming, Marquette and Calumet Armories to talk about my work and see how much interest there really is.”

That’s one important component: actual data on numbers of veterans interested in entrepreneurship in the first place.

“I went to a veterans convention in Detroit, and there were 6,000 veterans there,” says Pathak. “We know that a lack of available resources hinders them, and we also think that there is difference between disabled veterans and those who are not.”

Disabled veterans are more likely to be working alone, he says. And many of the veterans seem to have been unaware of all the resources that are available to them.

“I don’t have the data set to completely verify this, but talking to veterans in Detroit, senior military people seem to be not as averse to taking risks,” Pathak observes. “Where junior officers are so used to taking orders that it might hinder them. Again, I need to do more research to verify these statements.”

Veterans’ well-being could affect their choices between necessity-based and opportunity-based entrepreneurship too, he says.

There has been previous research on entrepreneurship—for example, a Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics at the University of Michigan. But there is no study currently focusing on veterans in terms of entrepreneurship.

With or without help from the White House, Pathak seeks to understand veterans’ unique needs as they attempt to become entrepreneurs. Then, he hopes to help them succeed.

Learn more about Saurav Pathak.

Originally published on Michigan Tech News.

Research Presentation: Liang Song

Assistant professor of accounting, Dr. Liang Song will present on Monday, September 24th.

Please join the School of Business and Economics and Assistant Professor Liang Song for a brown bag lunch presentation on Monday, September 24 at Noon in Academic Office Building 101. His presentation is titled: “Do Islamic Banks Employ Less Earnings Management?” Dr. Song added, “In this paper, we examine whether Islamic Banks are less likely to manage their earnings than Non-Islamic Banks, and how Islamic Banks’ unique corporate governance system, especially Shari’ah Supervisory Boards, impacts earnings management behaviors within Islamic Banks.”

Upcoming Research Presentations

  • Andre LaPlume – October 8, 12-1 pm,  Outstreaming for Ambidexterity

Student Competition: iOMe Challenge

Calling all students!

Senior lecturer in economics, Emanuel Oliveira, is looking for students this fall to enter the iOMe Challenge. The challenge, started in 2009 discusses how local organizations might engage the so-called Y or Millennial generation to think about their own future, 40 years from now.

The iOMe challenge they designed consists of two components; an essay and a video.

Essay Contest (due October 31, 2012): Write a policy recommendation targeted for the U.S. congress of no more than 10,000 words that addresses the future financial challenges of the Millennial generation and specifically creates incentives and removes barriers associated with low levels of savings and the lack of planning for their retirement.

Video Contest (due November 21, 2012): Produce a short video (60 seconds or less in length) that compellingly illustrates the key elements of the Essay. You might think about the essay as the screenplay and the video as the movie.


Winning team: $10,000 + presentation in D.C. to members of Congress (dependent on
availability). Honorable Mention(s): $2,000

Two years ago, students Coleman Segal (Economics major) and Adam Eidelsafy (Software Engineering major) were finalists in the competition. Last year, three of the four MTU teams made it to the final round of judging and one team has received an honorable mention in the competition. The team receiving the honorable mention was awarded $2,000 and was composed of Katie O’Connell (Economics major), Tianlu Shen (Environmental Engineering major), Adam Stigers (Economics major), Teddy Broe (Economics major), and Walker Derby (Finance major). Read the iOMe update from 2011.

Contact Dr. Oliveira ( if you are interested in participating this year.