James Schmeling is a nationally-recognized academic executive leader responsible for co-founding two, and developing a total of three, highly successful and impactful academic research centers and institutes at two universities. He collaboratively wrote, won, and implemented over $90 million in grant funding to conduct research, outreach, education, and training, reaching over 44,000 individuals directly in the most recent center, and he has focused on academic research center establishment, collaborative team building, engagement with government, business and industry, and more. He personally developed partnerships and collaborations with many of the largest and most innovative business, industry, government, non-profit, and academic organizations in the nation.
One of his passions is intrapreneurial startups within universities. James consults with university leaders, research administrators, faculty, and staff on creating centers and institutes within universities and colleges. Startup communities are everywhere. Many people think the role of universities (in addition to teaching!) is to do basic research and, sometimes, to partner with communities, governments, business and industry and others to commercialize their research by spinning off patents, maybe spinning out companies to commercialize patents, or to commercialize specific products invented at their university. Very few people think about the potential of university team members to step out of their typical roles and create more or different value for themselves or their universities, let alone for their communities, or business and industry partners! Some people think about academic entrepreneurship – inventing things and then creating companies to commercialize their inventions or intellectual property. And, even fewer people think about universities faculty and staff as members of startup communities. In fact, Brad Feld specifically says in Startup Communities don’t look to universities for entrepreneurial leadership. James thinks Brad is wrong.
James is passionate about these communities:
I’ve built three university centers with awesome colleagues during my career in higher education. (So far!) It’s been exciting to build these “businesses” inside universities. I want to share how to do this with people who want to do it! And I want to help universities build their capacity to help people do this for the benefit of the university and their goals, and to help their people realize their full potential to contribute. It’s a bit about entrepreneurial DNA and a bias toward action. It’s a bit about who you work with. And it’s a bit about those things you’re passionate about. Sometimes it’s about what needs to be done right now. I and my colleagues have built these ventures inside universities to do the things we love, that are important to us, to, as Gaping Void says, Make a Dent in the Universe. We’re going to help you do the same thing. Convince those you need to convince to support you (or at least step out of the way!) and your vision. Find like-minded team members in your university, your community, or anywhere in the world. Fund your work, find partners, build products and services, and more!
Simply put, we’ve done it. Over and over. We love what we do inside our universities and organizations and with partners in business and industry, government, communities, and local, regional, national, and international stakeholders! We want to help you do what you love to do, inside the institutions you love, or outside of them. (And we’ll simultaneously help them find you, work with you, and build together.)
Reinventing the wheel doesn’t make sense when there are rich resources around you. People who’ve learned the hard lessons and want to share them. Conveners and mentors who are ready to help. A community that shares collective wisdom for collective impact.
No one else is teaching people inside universities how to pursue their goals to build resources, centers and institutes, products and services. Or teaching entrepreneurial startups, communities and governments, or business and industry where to find the talent and expertise they need, whether short term projects or long term engagements. The university community is rich with opportunity and expertise. Faculty and staff know how to build classes and curricula. Some know how to turn their expertise into consulting. Others have expertise in building products and commercializing them. James and his colleagues will teach your university or you personally how to build opportunities, leverage research proposals and grants, bring together the teams for bigger impact, and then how to turn those pieces into bigger opportunities. And he’ll make connections for those who want to tap into this rich community of expertise and networks. He is available to consult with individual faculty, staff, universities, or research leaders.