INterview with Remy Arteaga, director at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship

By: InnovatioNews Friday January 24, 2014 0 comments Tags: Remy Arteaga, The PivotStartup.com

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Remy Arteaga is the director at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship in the Leeds School of Business on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder.

Remy Arteaga
Arteaga previously served as program director and adjunct professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's  Center for Entrepreneurship in Troy, NY.

He has more than 20 years of experience in commercializing technologies and has founded and managed several startup companies.

Arteaga is also co-author of a Wiley published book, Pivot, on entrepreneurism and innovation, and is one of the founders of The PivotStartup.com, which provides project management software for startups.

Q: You have extensive experience as an entrepreneur and startup founder. How has that experience helped you as an educator?

A: I find that successful entrepreneurs are generally good leaders, mentors and teachers. In my experiences as a founder, I had to be able to lead a team down a very uncertain path. I remember one startup in particular, where we were trying to bring an epinephrine injector to market. This was the first medical device venture I had ever been a part of. Like so many startups, we were faced with so many unknowns. I spent a great deal of time educating investors, partners, doctors, hospitals and team members on the value of the startup. I also spent a significant amount of time mentoring my time, who were all first-time founders.

Q: Tell us a little about your book, Pivot, and how writing it has factored into your career and founding The PivotStartup.com.

A: I think that Pivot has even more meaning for me now than when I set off to write it. When I wrote the proposal for Wiley publishing, I was thinking of writing about startup methodologies that were applicable to both solo and corporate entrepreneurship. I wanted to also give some context to popular methodologies like The Lean Startup. I did achieve those goals and in the process also managed to put forth some very important universal principles.

I did not fully appreciate how important some these concepts are until I came to CU-Boulder. It became clear that while methodologies like The Lean Startup and Pivot have limitations in certain environments, these universal principles do not. These universal entrepreneurship & innovation principles are Uncertainty Management, Learning, Opportunity Recognition, Risk Mitigation and Experimentation. These are the underlying principles that methodologies like Pivot are built upon and are critical to for entrepreneurs and innovators to understand. Learning a methodology without understanding the underlying principles is like learning how to perform surgery without understanding principles of medicine and biology.

Q: Please explain what nLab is and how it helps students at Deming realize their innovation goals.

A: nLab is being transitioned into a "hatchery." We are in the process of naming the hatchery, so let's call it CU Hatchery for now. CU Hatchery is a place where ideas are born and processed. It is a program where the Deming Center has partnered with the Environmental Center with the support of Silicon Flatirons to offer co-working sessions and support for student entrepreneurs. It is a cross-campus program that brings mentors and students together with resources and space to work on ideas and the very early stages of the entrepreneurship process.

This might be a good time to bring up a new program that I had the great fortune to start, CUBE. CUBE stands for CU Boulder Entrepreneurship. It is made up of directors and leaders of the entrepreneurial centers of excellence across campus. The goal of the group is to collaborate and partner to enhance and elevate the student's and community's entrepreneurial experience at CU-Boulder. CU Hatchery is a program that is being built in the spirit of CUBE.

Q: The WILD Summit is coming up again on Feb. 1 and seemed to be a great success last year. Could you explain what the summit is all about and why it reaches out specifically to women?

A: The reality is that women entrepreneurs are doing better than they ever have and at the same time have a very long way to go to achieve equal treatment to their male counterparts. The WILD Summit is the creation of the Women's Council. The Women's Council was born in The Deming Center. It started out with a focus on women entrepreneurship. It evolved to have a broader focus to include business and leadership. I could not be any prouder of the Women's Council. The WILD Summit brings together people throughout Colorado to promote and enable women's leadership. I have already registered as it is quickly on pace to sell out.

Q: You've only been with the Deming Center for a short time, but what is your vision for the center and what's it going to take to get there?

A: Perfect timing for this question, as we're in the final phases of our Strategic Planning Process. Our mission is to work in partnership with the region's entrepreneurial community to change the lives of students, community, alumni, faculty and staff through entrepreneurship education, while driving value in the region. We value education, partnerships, collaboration, inclusiveness, transparency and love of entrepreneurship.

This mission is the outcome of an effort that informally started in the summer of 2013, while I was being interviewed. I formally kicked it off the day I stepped foot on campus in October. I have personally spoken to 200 individuals from students to community entrepreneurs. During the process, I spoke with Brad Feld, Howard Diamond, Tim Miller, Mark Retzloff, Marley Hodgson and other business leaders. I didn't do this in a vacuum. Our academic director, Sharon Matusik, is a world-class entrepreneurship educator and researcher. Her insight into the field of entrepreneurship and CU-Boulder is critical to the success of Deming. So is Erick Mueller, our director of student experience. Erick is an incredibly successful entrepreneur and an outstanding teacher. His insight into the student experience was instrumental in understanding student needs.

We are already in the process of executing on the plan. We have several programs planned that are focused on community - campus partnership. I plan on spending ½ day per week in Boulder helping community startups. We are in the process of launching an entrepreneurial mentor program, which will add great value to the campus and community.

In the spirit of transparency, the strategic plan will be available for download in February.
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