July 05, 2011

Harfst briefs conference on 'Operation Mousetrap'

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's successful technology entrepreneurship program recently earned attention at a national conference.

Kyle Harfst, executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park and director of technology and enterprise development for SIUC, presented a program about Operation Mousetrap at the National Business Incubation Association’s 25th International Conference on Business Incubation. The conference in San Jose, Calif., brought together hundreds of business incubation and economic development professionals from more than 30 countries for training and networking to enhance their work with clients.

In his “Delivering a Technology Entrepreneurship Program” session, Harfst first introduced people to SIU, sharing about the three campuses, the famous alumni, the Saluki mascot and details regarding the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development and its components and impact on the region and beyond. He noted that the office provides a wide variety of services to new and expanding business clients, helping them with the intricacies of creating or expanding their businesses, securing financing, and much more. The goal is to attract and assist new businesses and foster business retention and expansion.

The unit has also become involved with technology entrepreneurship training and that’s what Operation Bootstrap is all about. Working with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Harfst and the University’s entrepreneurship staff have also fostered technology development, licensing and creation of spinout companies, bringing faculty inventions from the idea phase to commercialization. The Southern Illinois Research Park and/or the SIUC Small Business Incubator provide a variety of services in so doing.

Operation Mousetrap is a 12-week entrepreneurship course assisting University scientists with the process of bringing an idea to a commercial product or process. The course involves technical expertise, research, and even student assistance. Harfst discussed the way the program works and offered studies of just a few of its many successes during his presentation.

For more information about Operation Bootstrap or other programs and services SIUC’s technology and enterprise development unit offers, contact Harfst at kharfst@biz.siu.edu or by calling 618/453-3427. Or, visit the websites at www.researchpark.siuc.edu or www.econdev.siuc.edu.