November 15, 2011

Nine completing Operation Mousetrap this week

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Operation Mousetrap, a program helping Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty, staff and students learn about commercializing their research and innovation technologies, will wrap up a 12-week session with a ceremony recognizing those successfully completing the intensive series this fall.

The program concludes at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, as participants present “elevator pitches,” short explanations designed to elicit funding contributions in no more time than an elevator ride requires.  Following the presentations at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale, there will be a 2:15 p.m. ceremony where participants will receive certificates signifying their completion of the program.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the Operation Mousetrap entrepreneurial technology transfer program achievement ceremony at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, in Room 241 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center.  John Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and graduate dean, will present certificates of achievement to those completing the program.  Several of the participants will also be on hand to discuss their research and technology innovations following the ceremony.

“This is our third cohort of faculty researchers and scientists participating in Operation Mousetrap since the program began in January 2010,” said Kyle L. Harfst, executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park.  “We also have several students with technology-based businesses in this group and are extremely excited about the potential for commercializing the participants’ research and technology into Southern Illinois businesses.”

The fall 2011 Operation Mousetrap series has included workshops and discussions highlighting entrepreneurship, marketing research and analysis, identifying funding sources and working with investors, protecting businesses and intellectual property in the legal realm, defining the target market, testing business concepts, enhancing investor presentations, building and compensating the organizational team and much more.  Presenters have included entrepreneurs, lawyers, business founders and owners, accountants, consultants and various other experts.

The program’s goal is assisting technology and life science researchers in bringing their innovations from the concept stage to the marketplace.  Ultimately, Operation Mousetrap seeks to increase the University’s commercialization successes through licensing opportunities and creation of technology-based startup companies in the region.

“Inventors at SIU have been increasingly successful in taking their research ideas from the desk and bench top to the market and with today’s economy, perhaps as at no other time in recent history, is this more important.  I believe that the culture on campus has advanced to where inventors have more information and are much better prepared to do so, with Operation Mousetrap being a great example of what we now offer to provide assistance,” said John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and graduate dean.

Operation Mousetrap uses FastTrac TechVenture, a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation entrepreneurship and business program, and those who complete the program are eligible for three months of free rent at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center through the Small Business Incubator Program, which also offers additional business and technical assistance.

Those completing Operation Mousetrap this month include:

            •  Samir Aouadi, professor, physics

            •  Yoginder “Paul” Chugh, professor, mining and mineral resources

            •  Manoj Mohanty, professor, mining and mineral resources

            •  Tod Policondriotes, assistant scientist, Center for Advanced Friction Studies

            •  Lichang Wang, professor, chemistry and biochemistry

            •  Mike Philip, CEO, Rover Enterprises

            •  Michael Rzeznik, a senior majoring in information systems technologies and chief technology officer of Rover Enterprises

            •  D’arcy Stone, doctoral candidate in applied physics, working with Samir Aouadi

            •  Benjamin Wasson, MBA student and CEO of OrderAce

Those partnering to offer the SIU Carbondale program include the Illinois Small Business Development Center, Small Business Incubator Program and the Southern Illinois Research Park.  Coaching and providing assistance for the fall session were:  Harfst; Lynn Andersen Lindberg, director of business innovation and research; Katie Dzugan, master’s student in mass communication and media arts; Hannah Rummel, senior marketing major; Brandon Soltwisch, business administration doctoral student; and Toni Whitfield, MBA student.