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So you want to start a company?

Come play the spin-out game. Lots of researchers and engineers do it these days: Starting a company based on their own research or inventions.

The prize is great. You can see your ideas become reality, saving lives or saving the planet – and you just might get rich along the way. But it’s harder than it looks. You have to work out who owns the invention, who would want to buy it, how to get it to them, how much money it’s going to cost to get going – and who, besides yourself, is going to be doing all this work. You could go broke. Or you could be wildly successful: Remember, Google was a spin-out from Stanford. 

So, if you’re interested in starting a company, come try it on for size first at this ESOF workshop, run by some experts in spin-out companies. The instructors are technology transfer professionals from across Europe. 

Science|Business is a Brussels-based network of research universities and technology companies across Europe, and the Association of Science and Technology Professionals-Proton is the leading European organisation for technology transfer managers and advisors. 

For this workshop, they have devised a game to illustrate the challenges you may face in starting your own company. They start with a hypothetical case study, of an invention that could be on its way to market.

They divide the workshop attendees into teams, and each team will puzzle out how to build a successful spin-out company around the invention. You don’t have to bring your own spin-out plans or inventions; in fact, keep them secret. Just come and test your wits against the others in this game.

The winners will be well on their way to incorporation. The losers will be advised to stick to the lab. Which are you?