Soft Landing Programs

>>Good afternoon everyone. Come on in. Come on in.>>Is it already?>>It is 4:00, and we’re going
to go ahead and get started. So my name is Charles Ross,
and I am the president and CEO of the International Business
Innovation Association. And it’s my pleasure to kick
off this afternoon panel session on soft landings programs
and also to be your moderator for the next 60 minutes or so. So I have to tell you,
I’m a little nervous. I’m a little nervous, because
in coming here and preparing, I ran into someone in
the speaker ready room, and he came in and he
told me he said ah, 3:00, I can’t wait to take a nap. And I told him I said hey,
I got a panel at 4:00, and we got to make
sure people are up. And he said, no, 3:00, 3
to 3:30 is just the amount of time to get a good nap. He said people will be
up at 3:30 and ready for some invigorating Q
and A for our 4:00 session. So I’m depending on
you guys to bring it in terms of the session. You know, all of you guys know that every year there are
thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs, researchers
and innovators that are going after a huge $20 trillion
market opportunity, which is called the US market. And given the size of
this market but all of you in this room know that there are
often many challenges associated with tapping into
this opportunity. When these challenges
go unaddressed, it definitely depresses
global trade. It depresses productivity,
innovation and ultimately, quality of life for
communities across the globe. So for this afternoon,
we are all fortunate because we have the occasion
to hear from two experienced and accomplished practitioners
from soft landings programs that are globally recognized
here in the United States. And so we’ll be talking about
those programs, how they work with foreign actors that
are looking to get access into US markets and
some of the ins and outs of those particular programs. So that’s what we’re going to
be covering this afternoon. In terms of a format, what
I’d like to do is I would like to first kind of
kick off the session by introducing our panelists. I want to introduce them
by way of a question to help us cover the
basics of soft landings and then also give
them an opportunity to share a little bit
more about their program and their organization. And then for the
majority of this session, and I wasn’t kidding when
I said I want you guys to help us with the content. We want to have the majority of
the session focused on Q and A from you guys so
that we know the, so we can address the
topics of interest. But I’m going to help you out
a little bit, so I’ll start off with a couple of
moderated questions to kind of go beyond the basic and then
we will open it up for you guys. But before we do that, and
just to help the panelists, I want to do just a quick survey
of the audience, and I wanted to ask you guys a couple
of questions so we kind of get a sense of just
the overall knowledge around this particular topic. Okay, so by a show of hands,
the first question I have for you guys, how many
of you are familiar with the term soft landings? Okay. That’s fantastic. How many of you have
directly worked with a soft landings program,
accessed their services or partnered with a
soft landings program? Okay, great. And then lastly, how many
of you are foreign actors that are looking at either
researchers, innovators, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs
or business leaders looking to get access to the US market?>>Oh good.>>Okay. All right. Okay. All right, so let’s
start off with the basics. And I’m going to start off
with, on the basics trying to cover the who, what, but
really try to cover the why. So I’m going to kick
off the question with our first panelist,
Lynne Henkiel. Lynne is with the Georgia
Institute of Technology, and this is part of a
special unit at Georgia Tech that is focused on technology-based
economic development. And Lynne, I’d like for you to
just kind of just kick us off by sharing a few details
about your organization and about your program. But then also just kind
of talk to us about some of the challenges that
the clients that you work with in your program face when they’re coming
to access US markets.>>Okay. Thank you
very much, Charles.>>Okay.>>Hi everyone. I’m Lynne Henkiel
with Georgia Tech. Our program started out close
to eight years ago with working with companies who were
interested in landing in the Atlanta region. And there really wasn’t a
program in place for that, so the organization I work for, which is called the
Enterprise Innovation Institute, is an economic, it’s the largest
economic development institute in any university in the
United States, strictly focused on economic development
initiatives. So, we’re, we have
multiple programs, including the minority
business development program. We have the southeast region
trade adjustment program. We have a manufacturing
extension program all under the umbrella, as
well as two incubators. But we were getting, the incubators were
actually getting calls from foreign companies
who wanted to come and land in Atlanta. So, we were tasked with going
ahead and investigating this to see how we could help. Fast forward seven years
later and, you know, we’ve been an InBIA-certified
location for about four years
now, I think. Yeah, about four years. And we’ve actually organized our
training programs into cohorts, so we do a spring and
fall cohort for companies. And we specifically focus on
small and medium enterprises. We feel that startups
aren’t quite ready to go international yet. They’re still trying to get
their feet on the ground in their home country. And then, of course, you
have large corporations who can afford the consultants
to do all the work for them. So, as an educational
institution as Georgia Tech, we focus on educating our CEOs
that come to us on whether or not helping them to make
the decision of whether or not to expand into the US market. So our program is very
educationally based, and it’s a ten-week program, and I’ll go into that
in a little while. But the question was
issues that companies face. The biggest one I would say is
understanding the labor laws. So we have a lot of experts
that come into our program and speak with our companies. Another, you know, there’s a
whole laundry list of issues that need to be addressed
such as location. I mean if you’re developing
a manufacturing company, you’ve got to find the space
or facilities to be able to handle a manufacturing
process. Labor laws, like I said,
are very important, how you can do business
in the US. What are the tax implications? And most of all, I think
finding the right talent. You know, if you make the
decision to come to the US and expand into the US market,
are you going to be able to find the right resources
and the right skills to be able to advance your company? Because you just don’t want to
put a footprint into the US. You really want to be
able to make a stand and grow within the US market.>>Great. All right, so thanks
Lynne, and you mention a couple of the top challenges
around access to talent and then understanding
some of the regulations and laws associated
with the, in the US, for the companies
that are entering. Next, I want to introduce
Katrina Sotnik. Katrina is with,
Karina, I’m sorry, Karina is with the
University City Science Center. And this is an organization
that is based in Philadelphia. They’ve been in this
space, I just found out before our session
that they are one of the largest
multi-university-based research parks in the United States. And they’ve been supporting
the Philadelphia ecosystem for over 50 plus
years, I believe.>>Yep.>>So Karina, I was wondering
if you could just talk to us a little bit,
more about the model of the University
City Science Center. And then also, tell us a
little bit about just kind of generically, how do you
define a soft landings program and what are some of the
key elements associated with those programs?>>Sure. Thank you
so much, Charles. And it was real interesting
to hear. You speak, I heard
Lynne speaking about her program a year
ago and was fascinated about how Georgia Tech does it. So, as Charles said,
Science Center, we can skip University
City Science Center.>>Okay, Science Center.>>Science Center is the oldest and the largest urban
research park in the country. And if you go to Philadelphia,
you hear a lot of oldest. We have the first university
in the United States, the first hospital,
the first zoo. Well, we also have the oldest and the largest urban
research park. And this is an independent
nonprofit organization that started from the beginning
to work with 31 university and, universities, and research
institutions in three states, in Pennsylvania,
Delaware and New Jersey. So, we work with universities
very known such as University of Pennsylvania and Drexel and
Temple but also with University of Delaware and Rutgers
in New Jersey and Institute of Technology. So our aim is really wide. And so about 12 years ago, we looked at our participating
universities and we said, why don’t we help you
commercialize your academic innovation. So we started to work
with 21 universities and their tech transfer offices to help them commercialize
their innovation, what’s happening there in the laboratories
at the universities. And so over the years, we
developed multiple programs, specifically for
those universities to help them get
innovation out of the labs and more into the marketplace. So we have something called
proof of concept where we work with very early researchers. And then we have something
called phase one venture where we actually
incorporate companies. Why am I telling this to you? Because we leverage all of those
connections that we’ve developed over the last 12 years. We leverage our database
of mentors, advisors, service providers, investors,
specialists now in order to give the same service to
the international companies through our global
soft landing program. The way our global soft
landing program works is we have two subprograms. We have a program
called Bootcamp. In my experience, helping
international companies, US companies going abroad and
international companies coming to US, a lot of times,
companies decide to go to new market very
opportunistically. Usually, you have a
cousin who lives in Texas. You move to Texas, right. Or you met someone
at the conference. You had a good conversation. You move to that place. There’s very little science
that usually companies put into in order to
expand to other markets. And that’s unfortunate
because expanding to other markets is difficult. So we have one of the programs
called Bootcamp that is aimed at anyone, startup or small
or medium size companies, and we’re teaching them
all the tools how to do it. So it’s a week-long
program that covers anything from this is how
you hire you people. These are the labor laws. We have a whole day
dedicated to just operations. This is how you file taxes. What if you happen to
be in innovation zone and your taxes have deferred? Is it better to open
Delaware LLC or C corporation? We cover all of those
operational things in one day. Then we have a day
dedicated to legal. Again, how to incorporate. What would be your
immigration status? What is the IP status? So that’s another day
dedicated to that. And along the way, every day
we have sessions with mentors and advisors that prepare
companies to pitch, even if the companies
come to the United States and they said we’re not
interested in funding. At the end of the
day, they all look for funding in the
United States. So we teach them how to
prepare pitch for US investors, because the US pitch is very
different from, let’s say, European or Latin American way
people are used to fund raise. And at the end of the
Bootcamp, they do pitch to the panel of investors. And some of them already
have connections with mentors and advisors through
that week to sort of understand what it takes
budgetary and resource wise to enter United States. So that’s one program. And the second program
is more for companies that already have
traction where they are. So this is small and medium size
companies that already selling in their own region and
maybe some other region and are ready to
enter US market. And this is more of a 6
to 12 month engagement with the companies where we
welcome them to Philadelphia, and we’ll work as part of
their business development team to open up all of the
connections that we have through the university community
but also larger community to help them get this first
milestone in United States. So that’s in a nutshell
what we do. But one of the most difficult
things I found that companies go through is, yes, understanding
the laws is important, but in a lot of correspondence
with investors, issues became my company
in Belgium invented this, and IP belongs to the
company in Belgium. Now I created a company
in the United States. Investors don’t want to invest
into United States company because it doesn’t
have IP, right. So issues like that, we address
them through the Bootcamp, but it also becomes a barrier in how do you overcome
the barrier is something that we can help.>>Karina, thank you.>>Sure.>>So just for summary purposes. So a couple of things
I’ve heard. So for Lynne’s program, they
are pretty much focused on small to medium size enterprises. And for Karina’s
program, they have a kind of an intake service
that’s broad across all kind of maturities, but
their most intense work that they do is also with small
to medium size enterprises. Wanted to share just
a little bit about the organization
that I’m with. So it’s the, again, InBIA International Business
Innovation Association, and we support entrepreneurship
centers and we term entrepreneurship
centers or define them as program, programmatic
approaches that usually leverages some
type of infrastructure. Typically, you may know of these
organizations as incubators, accelerators and
coworking spaces. And then we help to connect
them to people and resources for them to be successful. And ultimately, they are
helping entrepreneurs in their local community. One of the ways in
which we kind of play into soft landing space is
we provide, or we enable, a peer-accredited designation for our members around
soft landings. So in about the early 2000
timeframe we started to see many of our members launch
programs focused on enabling access
to US markets. And we pulled together this
certification to help actors that are coming into the market to actually understand
the competency of the entrepreneurship centers
that they may be working with. And Karina, one of the questions
I want to run past you, and then also Lynne, ask you
to chime in, you guys are both from very dynamic
entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems, ecosystems that
have all those different players that I talked about,
and in addition to that, they may have someone at the state level that’s
helping foreign companies, someone at the city level,
someone at the chamber of commerce, someone
at the university, the community college. So the question I have is
for your particular programs, how do you kind of,
if you can compare and contrast your
programs with resources that other foreign actors
may see in your ecosystem.>>Thank you, Charles. Well so I think we’re very
collaborative by nature, and Philadelphia is also. And I have to say I’m so glad that we here represent not
San Francisco, not Boston and not New York but rather
Atlanta and Philadelphia, which I think are easier
markets to enter US market, contrary to popular beliefs. So, the way our ecosystem
works, I always say that Science Center can
help companies that fit under the umbrella of
science and technology. So, if you are working
in any of those fields and fin [phonetic] tech, eb
[phonetic] tech, biotech, digital health, even
the science of food, we can usually help you. But if you are working in
furniture manufacturing, this is more of Select
USA or chamber of commerce or World Trade Organization. So, we collaborate. They send us a lot of small
and medium size companies. We usually bounce companies
that we cannot help but we know that they can help to them. So, we are in no way competing. I feel like we are very much
collaborating in that sense with all of the resources
in Philadelphia. I don’t know if that’s
your experience as well.>>Ours is a little different
in that we really focus on educating the CEOS on how
to be competitive in the market where we don’t really
specifically have a physical landing space for the CEOs. We’re more focused on, we have
a ten-week webinar series, and that’s how we run the
soft landings programs. Everyone does it differently. Every single solitary soft
landing designation center has very different parameters
that they operate under. Our particular one is we’re
focused very much on education. So our responsibility is to
educate the CEOs to the best of our ability to help
them make a decision. So, the decision to
land has not been made when they first sign up with us. They’re going through an
education course to be able to help themselves determine
whether or not landing in the US and expanding into the US
market is the right move for their company. And then also, if you’re
making that decision, is Atlanta the right
place for you. Of course, we’re a little
biased, and we’re able to bring in a lot of experts from the
state of Georgia to be able to encourage those companies
once they’ve made that decision to expand into the US market. We really focus on
trying to hand-hold them and facilitate a relationship with organizations
outside the university. Because we’re very
focused as a university. It’s not our job, per se, to help companies
and incubate them. Our job is to educate people. So, that’s where we kind
of do the separation. So we have wonderful
organizations in Georgia and the Atlanta region, such
as the chamber of commerces and Georgia Department
of Economic Development and other organizations that
exist, that is their job is to help these companies. But our job is to help
these companies understand and make that decision. So it’s a little different.>>Okay, are you guys
ready with your questions? Okay, so I’m going to give
you just a couple more seconds to work on those questions. And I’m going to help give
you some food for thought. So, before we start those
questions, one question I want to ask is, I’ll start this
with Lynne, around the fact that you are part of a state
organization that’s all about creating jobs in
the state of Georgia. And I’m just wondering
when you share with some of your stakeholders, yeah,
I’m working with a company from the Netherlands that’s
looking to come here to the US, kind of how does that
play out and what’s kind of the strategic
rationale or business case for a state-focused economic
development group to work with foreign entrepreneurs
and foreign businesses?>>Well, luckily for us,
our president had come up with a strategic plan
for the next 25 years for the university. And I think it was number three
on the list of his top five was to truly be an international
university and to embrace international
relationships. So, that kind of
gave us the go ahead, at least I interpreted
it that way. I can always pick up the
piece of paper and show people when they challenge that. But we are funded partially
by the state of Georgia. We are funded to educate. Part of the state of Georgia is to do economic development
initiatives. That’s why I’m in
the organization I’m in is its economic
development initiatives. What better way than
to have companies from outside the US come
in and land in Georgia and then hire Georgia Tech
students to do their work. I mean, it doesn’t get any
better than that, right. So I really, I’ve never
really been challenged on it.>>Okay. Karina, anything on it?>>Yeah, I have to say the same. We are also economic
development organization, and Philadelphia is very
international as a city. And in fact, really interesting
fun fact, we have our incubator for local companies, more
than half of the companies in our incubators
started by people that were born outside
of United States. So, just in itself, the
city is very international. And so for me to bring in
companies from around the world to land in Philadelphia, to grow
in Philadelphia, to collaborate in Philadelphia,
makes complete sense. And so I’m looking at these
companies to hire local, to bring in foreign investors. We just had two really
large exits in Philadelphia, both of them were companies were
bought by foreign companies. So Roche bought Spark
Therapeutics for $5 billion. We’re really proud. And they were located
at the Science Center. And bioMerieux, a French
company, just bought one of our Science Center
companies, Invisible Sentinel. So, we want to continue
that trend and to bring foreign investors
and foreign companies to Philly so that we can grow our
ecosystem even more.>>Great.>>Yeah.>>Okay, you’re going
to start us off. So tell us, yes,
tell us who you are, your organization,
where you’re from.>>Hi, my name is
Anthony Martinez. I am from the Spanish
Trade Commission here in Washington D.C., and I
had a question for Karina. I wonder if those courses which I found very
interesting are open to any kind of companies and if they, if
you have something for that week like digital or over the
internet that they can follow from Spain, for example, in
our case, because I found that would be very, very useful.>>Thank you for that question. So it’s interesting that
we do start to get demand to maybe start some of our
Bootcamp in the country over the web and cover
some basics there. But I found through
my experience, that it’s still absolutely
invaluable when people come over to make those
connections, right. The personal connections,
every business is done on personal connection. So yes, we can start
offering some things through the webinars, but
with the understanding that eventually people will come and we can still help
them on the ground. I don’t know if you
have similar philosophy.>>Well, we have, ours
is a ten-week webinar with one week immersion
in Atlanta. So it’s similar in that we, you
know, we work it all through up for nine weeks and then
the tenth week is spent in Atlanta meeting with
everyone that we’ve worked with through the webinars and,
you know, setting up mentorship. And we even do follow up
after the program to make sure that the companies
are comfortable with what they went through.>>So, use the mike. Tell us who you are,
where you’re from.>>Hi, my name is
Huriana [phonetic]. I’m actually with a
company out of California. We do matchmaking
but also overlap of soft landing a little
bit, just starting. But for myself, what I do is
focus on immigration part. I know you mentioned
immigration. So, what are training or
services, do you outsource them out to the firms, local firms, or how do you handle
immigration part of the process?>>Yeah, we have our partners, our service providers
that we work with. And so yes, I do a lot of
connections and matchmaking. But open to expand my
network, definitely.>>And Karina, let me
ask you this question. In addition to like
immigration, are there, can you share the services that for a soft landing center
you would most likely receive in the center? We talked about some of those. What are some of the other
ones that you partner with, like a corporation, or –>>So thank you for
that question, actually. So a couple of things. First of all, we are located
in a building that is managed by a fabulous organization
called The Cambridge Innovation Center, CIC. So CIC started in
Massachusetts in Cambridge, but they are now all
around the world. And they have absolutely
beautiful space designed to help companies grow. You can start with one desk and
grow to 70 people companies. And so CIC is now in Boston,
Cambridge, Philadelphia, Miami, St. Louis but also Rotterdam,
soon Warsaw, Tokyo, Sydney, so in terms of space,
we partner with CIC. But you can also, as a
company, rent any space. We’re really agnostic
about that. We do work with a government
organization called BARDA. BARDA stands for Bio Advanced
Research and Development Agency, part of health and
human services of our federal government. And BARDA partnered with the
Science Center to be their eyes and ears to look
for technologies that are specifically
of interest to them. And they’re looking to
solve big health issues. So they’re looking
to solve sepsis. They’re looking to
solve influenza. They’re looking for any kind of
interesting sensors or wearable that can track patient
data early. And what’s interesting about it, this type of government
funding is available to international companies. So then looking at us not
just to tap into our network of 30 plus universities but also
to look for it internationally. So we sometimes match
international companies with these US government grants.>>Very good.>>Plus we also work
with, you know, law firms and immigration firms and
accounting firms and bookkeepers and everything that
a company needs, we usually have a resource
to connect them with.>>Ours is a little
similar in that we work with all the service subject
matter experts, and they come in and do volunteer
webinar activity. Once again, like all
the service providers. So it’s the ones that we use with our Advanced Technology
Development Center, it’s ATDC. It’s one of the oldest
incubators in the United States. So we are very engaged
with them. That incubator, though, is only
for state of Georgia residents. So, what we’re trying to do
is build kind of a continuum and a process so once the
company decides to move to the US, then we also have
the ATDC incubator and all of those services to go along
with what the company wants. So we’re trying to
do it in steps to make it a little
bit easier to handle. Because you’re still
trying to run a business, as well as do this
investigation.>>Okay, so we have a question
in the back here, and I’m going to add a little something to it. So not only do I want your
company and where you’re from, but I want to know
if you’re rooting for the Warriors or the Raptors? Or maybe just, basketball.>>Hi. My name is Meagan Kelly. I am from Philadelphia. I know Karina already,
so I may be, I’m cheating by asking this question. I am not a basketball fan, so all I can say is
we’re still proud that the Philadelphia Eagles
won the Super Bowl last year. But my, did I say I’m from
Select Greater Philadelphia, which is part of the
Chamber of Commerce for the greater Philadelphia
region. So we help companies
that are interested in inbound investment. But my question is
for both of you. You mentioned that you work
with international companies that are interested in
using your services. But how do you build
those relationships with international companies? How do foreign networks
know that you exist? And are there things that people
like me in this room who are in economic development can
do to help spread that message or to help facilitate
relationships in foreign markets?>>Great question. Yeah, I’ll take it first. Our program actually kind of
grew organically in that a lot of our alumni were calling
us up after they graduated from Georgia Tech and went
back to their home country and started their
businesses or ended up working in government offices. And they were very
aware of our incubation and our technology advancement
and research activities. And when they wanted to go ahead
and expand into the US market, they called Georgia Tech
alumni office and said, do you have anything like this? And they said, no, but hold on,
let me have you talk to Lynne. And that’s how it all
got started really is with the alumni pushing
for that. As a result, word of
mouth gets around. We work with the consulates. We, you know, Atlanta
has many, many consulates and embassy’s representations
in the Atlanta region. We are very tied in with them. We’re very close as a community. I don’t know if you know much
about the southern culture in the United States, but
the southern culture is very neighborly, I guess is
the way to describe it. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a large city,
but everybody, it’s still kind of small town. And everybody is very
collaborative and that, you know, it’s a
win-win situation. So, you can pick up
the phone and call. I can pick up the phone and
call just about anybody, and they will jump to
whatever it is that I ask. Because they know
I don’t abuse it, and they know I’m
serious about what we do. And it’s reciprocal.>>So, similar to Lynne,
although I’m really jealous that she does have that alumni
at work, because we work with our universities. They usually guard their
alums, you know, with –>>Yeah, they do.>>Yeah, so it’s hard to
penetrate that network. So, we work a lot with
the city of Philadelphia that has a very robust
international group. I work very closely
with honorary councils that live in Philadelphia. But I also have to say we now
rely on our big brother, InBIA, to promote us and reach network,
started to promote us in Europe. And I’m hoping to
reach beyond Europe to Latin America,
to Asia, to Africa. I want to create a very
diverse communitive companies. One thing that came
out of the Bootcamp is that companies really like
to form their own alum group because they bond
over the Bootcamp. And we have usually very
international Bootcamps. So that also will continue
as they spread the word in their own countries. Yeah.>>Great, and Karina, thanks
for the commercial about InBIA. So there’s two programs
that I’ll just make sure that you guys are aware of. So, as Karina mentioned, many of you probably saw earlier
this morning the pitches from entrepreneurs that
were being facilitated by the Enrich in
the USA Program. So this is a program that
InBIA is the coordinating, the US coordinating node. And this is a network of nine
consortium partners focused on connecting European
researchers and entrepreneurs
into US markets. And so we’re a couple of
years into this project. It’s funded by or supported
by the European Commission. And we see this as
just a great way to not only designate
the centers that are doing a
great job in this area but then also helping them with finding market
opportunities for their program. The other thing I’ll mention
is a program called La Idea, and this is a program that we’re
implementing in partnership with the Department of
State that’s focused on the Western hemisphere of
Central America, Latin America, and this is somewhat similar
to the Enriched Program. But it’s specifically focused
on over the next several months of ten cohorts of
ten entrepreneurs that will be connected
to landing of similar to Georgia Tech and
Science Center. So we think that those
are excellent programs. Okay, so I know there’s
a question. Yes. How are you?>>Hi. Good. My name is Bridgette Gibbons. I’m the director of
economic development for Westchester County, and I
went to the InBIA conference –>>Yes. Familiar face.>>a couple months ago. It was outstanding, so I highly
recommend it to anybody who’s in the incubator space. I was going to ask
a similar question about where you get
your leads from. But do you offer
financial incentives to the companies
that participate? You know, moving them
over, funding them, giving them places to work. Is there a financial component
to the programs that you offer?>>So, our program does
not invest into companies and does not take equity. We do charge a modest fee
actually of participation. However, we introduce companies
to a lot of funding sources from government funding
sources to local investors.>>And I would have
to say the same thing for our program as well. We have found that
some countries, actually their ministries
in some cases sponsor some of the companies to come over. So, we, you know, we
recommend when companies apply, as a matter of fact, our application process
for the fall. August 23rd is our cutoff date for applications
for the fall cohort. So if you’re considering it,
get with me after the program and I can tell you a little bit
more about the details on that. But one of the first
things we do is we suggest that the company go and work
with their government agency, because a lot of
times there is funding for the home government
agency to help out, and can certainly not –>>So is there, you
mentioned government funding. Is it state, federal, local?>>So we introduce companies
to like BARDA, for example, which is the federal
government sources. And we will, we can talk
to them about SBIR grants, what’s available
for companies here. But yeah, but we ourselves
do not invest into them.>>Yeah, understood. Thank you.>>Great. Okay, so
tell me about, so this program is called,
is branded smart Soft Land.>>Socks [phonetic].>>But there’s a
corollary to that, which is called smart
take off, I think.>>Yes.>>I think I’ve heard that.>>Yes.>>Or I’m branding
that right now.>>Yeah.>>But, can you guys
talk about just from your experience what
clients can do in advance of contacting you,
maybe what they can do in their home country to
just make themselves best, to allow them to best utilize
the services that you provide through Soft Landings.>>That’s a good question.>>So Lynne, would you
start us off on that one?>>Great. That’s a
really good question. I think that the, for us, we
try to work with the companies up front once they apply and once they are
accepted into the program. We try to help understand where
they are in their relationship with their home country
and what their market is in their home country. And then we apply
through our program, we do a lot of I-Corps training. Has anyone heard
of I-Corps before? I-Corps, okay. So it’s a National
Science Foundation program to help entrepreneurs advance
their technologies and research into a commercial
product or service. So we kind of, our program
is based loosely on some of those beliefs
and systems that we, and tools that we work with. So, there’s not a whole lot that
the company can do up front, because once again, our
program is very education-based. We’re really focused
on educating the CEO. And it has to be a CEO or a
decision maker for the company to be able to participate
in this program. Because ultimately,
the CEO is going to be making that decision. So, ours is very much focused
on the education part of it. So there’s really not
a lot of lead activity to get into the program.>>Okay.>>So I want to echo
what Lynne said, but ours is slightly different. We are very practical
in our approach. But I think it’s
really important that companies already have that product market
fit in where they are. Because where they are,
I mean it’s not easy for any companies
to succeed, right. But at least you know
your market where you are, and you’re fully
supported there. So, to have market traction
in your country and maybe in neighboring companies first
before you look at the big and wonderful but yet difficult
US market is real important. We tried to help one
foreign company, for example, come to United States
and then figure out that product market fit,
and it’s really difficult. So that’s one thing that
I would recommend you do. And another thing, do your
homework before coming to United States. Through our fellowship
program, which is the 6 to 12 month engagement,
what we usually do at the beginning we
sit down with a company to outline what is the next
milestone that they want to achieve in the
next six months. And it really helps if they come in with the homework done
saying you need to introduce me to this company, this
researcher, these people. If they already know
what they need, then I have my marching
orders and I go and I do it. But if you come in looking
at us to help you grow without understanding that,
that becomes difficult and just takes longer.>>Great. Okay.>>Hi, my name is
Therese Still [phonetic]. I’m with a regional
economic development group out of West Michigan in
Grand Rapids, specifically. Ladies, I’m curious,
what is the source of funding for your programs? Lynne, you mentioned you get
some dollars from the state. What other funding
streams do you utilize?>>So, very little
from the state. The funding for the
program is actually from the companies
paying for the program. So, I have a little bit of
pocket change, petty cash, that I use for marketing
and supplies. But we are basically a
cost recovery situation because we’re a public
university. So, it’s a cost recovery
situation, so the companies pay a fee.>>So for us, it’s also, it’s
a combination of first of all, it’s the funding that we got
from an agency like BARDA that partnered with us to look
for technologists for them. We also find that corporations
are now coming to us asking to look for specific
technologists for them worldwide, and
they will fund some of it. But that’s also our local
resource because we are, we also have a real
estate arm and companies that come to our programs. Yeah.>>Great. Other questions. Okay, so what I’d
like to do, yes.>>Is this still on?>>Is it Lance? Is it Lance?>>It’s Lance.>>Yes, Lance.>>The trade show guy. So I’m Lance Scott. My company is Alliance
Technologies, and I guess in a way I’m in
the soft landing business. I’ve never really used
the term, but I specialize in bringing advanced
manufacturing companies, international companies, either
bring them here to the US or guide them if they
already have a footprint. So, I’m thrilled to hear this
because I started the business because there really
wasn’t this infrastructure. And I think the international
colleagues that are here are
left to navigate this. You know, you’re
regionally based or maybe even municipality
based or in university based. But each state has
different programs. The country has different
programs. So to maybe to get to a
question, Raptors, by the way. So just a question for everybody
is I’ve heard the term small and medium size, if you
could define that both on the parent side and
on the company here, if you have a rough definition by headcount or by
dollar amount. And then second, I think Karina, I heard that you do have a
difference in programs depending on the status of the company. But I am curious, because I’ve
found I have five different programs that I put companies
through, but even that, it’s only a framework. Every one’s really
unique and customized. So, if you can maybe
address some of that. Thank you.>>Great.>>So I feel that Bootcamp is a
program that would be valuable to any size companies, very
young startup, just thinking how to expand globally or a
company that’s already at a couple million in revenue. Because the steps that they
need to take are very similar in terms of legal, operational. They need to understand
all of that, right. So, that’s why Bootcamp
is open to anyone. It’s educational. My fellowship program,
which is very practical at getting them successful
in the United States, is aiming at the
companies that already have at least half a million where
they are or variable funded. If it’s a LifeSense company,
they might not be at revenue, but at least someone
already believe in what they’re doing, right. What I don’t want to do
is do the market traction from nothing.>>Ours is similar. Our kind of our baseline
definition is a million dollars in revenue in the home country. And we prefer companies
who have been established for at least three years. That way they have
some knowledge of the business operations, and
once again, in the home country. No, in the home country. Three years in the home country. So that they do have a pretty
steady stable footprint in their home country and
they’re looking to expand. Because we’re really
focusing on expansion, not disturbing what’s going
on in the home country but really expanding
into the US market.>>I think we have time
for one last question. Karina and Lynne,
will you guys be around later here
after this session?>>Absolutely, yeah, just to
answer any additional questions.>>Yeah.>>So, I’m going to throw this
last question out to the panel, and hopefully, you guys will
find value in this question. So, I was wondering
if you could share for us what does success
look like for your program? So if you can kind of share with us how do you guys
kind of measure success. And if you have any kind of
maybe short success story of a client that’s come
through your program.>>Go ahead.>>So, my global soft
landing program is fairly new, but we are not new to this
being a designated global self-landing site. In the past, we had
less formal program, but we more gave companies a
space to work or a lab to work and gave some services
but not a formal program that we have right now. But even through
that, we had companies that successfully
entered US market. We had a French company,
Keyosis [phonetic] that entered US market with
one person in the office and then were acquired
five years later. We have a fairly large company
from UK called Adaptimmune that entered through
the Science Center and is a well-established
company in our region. But for me, through my now
formal program, I think my KPI, as I said, would be jobs
created, follow up funding and eventually an acquisition.>>Great.>>Okay. So we participated in the first [inaudible]
program several years back. And two of the companies,
and I’m trying to think of what country they were
from, and I can’t remember, but I want to say it was
either Chile or Chile and Costa Rica, I think it was. They both ended up expanded into the US market
out of that program. This last cohort we had four
companies who actually two of them made connections,
so they ended up getting business partners,
so they didn’t really have to do the major capital
investment in the company and instead were able
to actually collaborate with competition, what’s
it called, Coopertition, I think is the fancy
word for that. So two of the companies ended
up doing, going that route, and two of the other
companies actually are setting up offices in Georgia. One in Atlanta and one outside because they needed the
manufacturing facilities, and they’re into biotechnology
related to poultry. So, that’s on the
outskirts of Atlanta. If you know anything
about Atlanta, we’re a big metropolitan
downtown, but then you go half an
hour outside of Atlanta and it’s very rural
and agricultural. So, we’re the largest poultry
producer in the United States. So, this ended up being
a really good situation for this biotechnology company to those focusing on
poultry nutrition. The second part of that was?>>How do you define success.>>Some success story.>>I think if the
companies walk away feeling like they’ve learned something,
even if they don’t, you know, the pressure isn’t on to land. The pressure is to understand
your business and what you need to do to be successful. So, we have yet to
have anybody kind of walk away going,
that was a waste. But they made an educated
decision to go or no go or hold off for a while or
get some other things lined up before they take
that big giant leap. And to me, that’s a success as
well because they could have, you know, run up a lot
of investment money that they would have,
you know, sunk. So I think it’s all successful. Once again, we’re
focused more on education. So it’s a very different program
than a lot of other programs.>>Great, all right, well if you guys can help me thank
our panelists for this session.>>Thank you.>>Thank you.>>And please come up –>>Can I do a commercial?>>Yeah, sure. Commercial.>>Okay, so our next cohort, our fall cohort is
kicking off September 10th. And so the applications
have to be in by August 23rd if anyone’s considering
signing up for it, come see me afterwards,
and we’ll talk about it.>>And Karina, you
have a program.>>And ours is October
7th for the next Bootcamp, and it’s a week-long Bootcamp
for biotech companies. But if you are in a different
sector, again, come talk to me because we will be offering
it to other sectors as well. All right.>>Great, thank you
guys for your time.

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