The HBN team just recently participated in the Biomedical Ph.D. Career Fair August 29, 2017. There were several visitors that asked me the question about entrepreneurship and felt that the term was so broad for a scientist. I thought it would be prudent to write a short note to our readership. In general, entrepreneurship has conceptually overlapping themes such as a person who makes calculated risks, one who recognizes market opportunities, one who has the desire to innovate, and one who can employ their resources to support their product to name a few. Langer (2014) posits that an entrepreneurial leader should be able to articulate their vision and be a strategic decision-maker and one that can communicate effectively (p.73).
However, per Shimasaki (2014), “the biotech entrepreneur is unique from all other entrepreneurs” (p. 9). The biotech entrepreneur possesses the same attributes all other entrepreneurs do, the biotech entrepreneur is usually an accomplished scientist, bioengineer, physician, or businessperson” (p. 9-10). What is interesting is that Shimasaki points out that “many of these individuals usually have well-paying and secure positions, and are already experiencing some degree of success in their current position but they voluntarily leave their comfortable world, and steps into an industry that carries uncertainties and risks” (p. 9-10). Shimasaki adds that biotech entrepreneurs do not just see problems, they envision an endless number of solutions to any given situation.
Shimasaki (2014) explains that technopreneur (technology entrepreneur) which encompasses information technology and all technology in the broader sense. The bioentrepreneur is a more defined subset of the technology entrepreneurship. In general, the bioentrepreneur has a minimum of three major considerations in becoming an entrepreneur.
1) Capital raising occupies much more energy for the bioentrepreneur.
2) Ethical clearance predominates more for the bioentrepreneur.
3) Extensive regulatory issues predominate more for the bioentrepreneur.
These three attributes require a lot of time compared to other technologies. Although this is a very short explanation about the main attributes of a bioentrepreneur, it helps to provide more information for those readers that may seek more about entrepreneurial mentorship in the life sciences in the HBN entrepreneurial mentoring program and support groups throughout the Hopkins network.
Langer (2014) Chapter 6: Characteristics of Successful Biotechnology Leaders: Shimasaki, C. (Ed.). (2014). Biotechnology entrepreneurship: starting, managing, and leading biotech companies.
Shimasaki, C. (Ed.). (2014). Biotechnology entrepreneurship: starting, managing, and leading biotech companies.
Posted by: Emem Okoh
Hopkins Bio Editor-in-Chief