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i2E Immersion Program speeds new concepts toward market realities in Oklahoma

Program helps entrepreneurs tailor concepts to marketplace.
by Scott Meacham Published: November 12, 2013

In the frenetic world of startup companies, entrepreneurs live with two realities. Speed is of the essence, and the threat of failure is an everyday occurrence.

Speed, because startups have to get to break-even before their money runs out; failure because innovation is always experimental.

But failure isn't always bad news. Failure, if done quickly with little money, can actually contribute to building a longer-term success, provided the company's leaders learn from it.

If an entrepreneur's initial idea is not going to work out as envisioned, the best outcome is to find out fast, before the startup burns through a lot of time and money. This gives the team a chance to reassess their business plan and pivot toward either a different application of their original concept or a different market need.

That's the idea behind i2E's Immersion Program in Tulsa, which is off and running with its second class of entrepreneurs.

Immersion specifically targets entrepreneurs and inventors with very early concepts. They arrive with little more than a vision for a product or service. They may have some minimal working elements, but they have no fully functioning prototype.

Our goal is to determine in 20 weeks whether there is a customer-product fit for their new idea that would be sufficient to build a business around and be attractive to investors.

Instead of focusing on the technology first, we concentrate on figuring out a defined market need or problem by an identified set of prospective customers.

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by Scott Meacham
President and CEO of i2E Inc.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology....
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In the U.S., the percentage of entrepreneurs who fear failure remains below the average among the world's 24 innovation driven economies.

SOURCE: GEM 2012 U.S. Report


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