Driving Innovation and Growth
The Face2Face Program, developed by the Alliance, provides engineers and scientists throughout the Midwest with an opportunity to “test drive” their ideas in an informal setting without having to develop a detailed business plan and to receive immediate feedback from a panel of business experts.
The feedback received during a Face2Face program enables participants to evaluate the commercial potential of their idea and to refine it. Ultimately, we hope this will result in participants’ ideas or technologies having a greater likelihood of attracting interest from potential investors, joint venture partners and others who can be helpful to participants in transforming their ideas into a product or service.
Global Midwest Alliance typically conducts Face2Face in collaboration with research institutions and other groups. Participation in a session of the Face2Face program is by invitation only. Applicants must provide a one-page summary of the planned presentation (see Topics).
If accepted, participants will submit a draft of their presentation for pre-session coaching. The coaching typically consists of a conference call with one of the Alliance’s technology commercialization advisors, who provide suggestions on how to focus and refine the presentation and answer any questions the participant may have about the process.
Participants are welcome to attend a Face2Face session prior to the one at which they are scheduled to present. This will enable the participant to get a sense of how the process works, to observe other presentations and to learn from the panel’s comments on those presentations.
1.Provide an overview of the idea/technology.
- In summary, what is the participant’s idea or technology?
- What problem or need does it solve or address?
- What is the potential impact of the technology?
- In general, how does it work?
- What kind of product or service does the idea lead to?
2.Describe the market.
- Who is/are the ideal customer(s)?
- What other solutions are currently available for this problem or need?
- Why and how is the participant’s better/different?
- In general, about how big is the potential market?
- What factors drive demand in this market?
3.Describe the technology.
- What are the intellectual property rights and how are they held?
- Can the idea be easily copied or reverse engineered?
- Are there special resources that will be needed to transform the idea into an actual product or service that can be sold?
- Why was the technology originally developed?
- Are there any plausible extensions of the idea into other applications?
- What is it about this idea that makes the participant passionate?
- What is the participant’s vision of success for this idea?
Face2Face events last approximately two hours and consist of several presentations along with opportunities for networking and informal discussion. Each event is moderated to keep on schedule and to facilitate delivery of comments from the panel. The panel will be a combination of experienced entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, and subject matter experts.
Participants should be prepared to give a presentation lasting about 15 minutes. We recommend that participants use PowerPoint for their presentation (presentations should be limited to 12-15 slides) and provide the panel with copies of their materials.
After each participant’s presentation, there will be about 10 minutes available for questions, discussion and comments from the panel. We encourage each panel member to provide participants with oral comments in real time.
At the conclusion, the panel will provide each participant with a “scorecard,” giving the participant a numeric score on the quality of the presentation, how well the participant described the technology, and whether there appears to be potential to proceed to the next stage of development. The panel will also have the opportunity to provide written notes.
Because participants will be presenting in a public forum, they should not disclose confidential information or any trade secrets. We have found, however, that it is easy to give a high level description of ideas or technology and how they work without revealing confidential information.
The best presentations will address the following major categories of information. The items in bullet points under each category are suggestions, and it is not necessary to specifically respond to each and every item. Participants should strive to be succinct and focused, so they can cover their material in the time allotted.