This is a hot topic right now in conversations at the local, state, and national levels because new technologies are the drivers of innovation, which helps create jobs and increases economic prosperity. The State of Tennessee has recognized the need to advance this type of innovation, as evidenced by a strategic initiative launched in May 2011 called INCITE (innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship). They also launched the INCITE Co-Investment Fund in February of 2012 to increase access to seed-, early- and expansion-stage capital.
With the exception of developing web-based technologies, commercializing new technologies usually takes longer than traditional businesses because it takes a lot more scientific research, money, and time to get a product idea ready to enter the market. One one hand, if you have a relatively simple device, you may get lucky and take only 3 years to get it to market (that’s fast!). At the other extreme, a biotech product idea or drug can take 10 – 15 years!
That’s why most technologies are “matured” at private, university, or government research and development facilities. They can apply for and receive government grants for technology development. Additionally, they have resources to vet the idea from a market perspective.
If you have a desire to start a technology-based business, the three local sources for new technologies are the UT Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex.