One of the phrases that was captured in my mind from the very beginning of the IOP workshop on entrepreneurship for scientists and engineers, held in Mexico City in September, was “there is life beyond academia”. This phrase set the tone for what was to come.
I was first able to learn about the functions and services of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, which made me realise the importance of patenting and confidentiality.
Further talks informed me about the resources available for specific scientific developments and innovation in Mexico. The financial support allocated for research and development showed me about the importance of honoring the responsibility of tax-funded academic workers.
I also learned about the process towards bringing an idea to life while receiving relevant advice from experienced people, some of whom shared their contact details and offered follow-up consultation. I was astounded at the discovery of many websites that are available for supporting academic work in Mexico – and the rest of the world.
I learned about business planning, marketing and sustainability, among which I was exposed to valuable lessons about the market, finance and ethics. Finally I was pleased to put my abilities to the test. This was made possible through group activities, tasks and presentations. I had the opportunity to exercise my understanding, make influential contributions and iron out some of my personal weaknesses.
The workshop led me to a desire and vision for a life beyond academia. This being the conviction, I have already started to put all my learning from the workshop into application. This has so far involved my pursuit towards patenting, planning and seeking support for my projects. Before the workshop I would not have imagined it possible for me to be an entrepreneur but after having seen the paths of normal people making it there, I dare not doubt it.
Since our future and that of our children’s’ generation depends on the impacts we make today, I strongly advocate the continuity and expansion of workshops such as this one – especially in developing countries, where the possibilities for innovation are limitless.