Innovation and Entrepreneurship as Key Economic Drivers

On 30 and 31 October, the Pittsburgh Regional representatives were in Portugal to show how innovation and entrepreneurship can go hand in hand to become key economic drivers not only for the Pittsburgh Region, but for the United States in general.
Their intention was also to show how growth in innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand as a key economic driver not just for the Pittsburgh Region but the United States. Additionally, the focus was on how growth in innovation and entrepreneurship serves as an international business attraction magnet for the region as innovative technology companies seek global growth by soft landing in the Pittsburgh region.

In collaboration with Católica-Lisbon and UTEN Portugal, the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program organized two events designed to inform and educate students, faculties, technology transfer officers and corporations on entrepreneurship, open innovation and regional growth. The keynote speakers were Suzi Pegg, Vice President, International, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), and DeWitt Peart, Executive Vice President, Economic Development, Allegheny Conference on Community Development; President, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference. The two events welcomed more than 90 participants.

The Strategic Session, entitled “Entrepreneurial and Regional Growth: Connect with Pittsburgh”, was organized by the UTEN Portugal in collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program and held at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, on 30 October 2012. The guest speakers stressed that Entrepreneurship for the sake of entrepreneurship is no longer the answer to achieve regional growth and that the future of regional growth that is tied to entrepreneurship comes from the efforts to connect regional participants and to further integrate larger and more established businesses all the way into the research activities of universities.

The Pittsburgh region was presented as being the home to many materials companies who are leaders in their field, while the University of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University develop world leading research in materials science. Therefore, if the researchers are interacting with the appropriate business leaders, there will be more awareness on the research and market problems can be considered.

Targeting policy makers, public authorities, university management, technology transfer officers (TTOs), start-up companies and researchers, as well as the general public, the session was an opportunity to share new visions on how Entrepreneurship can be used to achieve economic and regional growth.

The second event, entitled “Entrepreneurship and Open Innovation: Connect with Pittsburgh for a Regional Growth,” was organized by the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, in collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, and held at the Católica-Lisbon on 31 October 2012. During the event, the invited speakers had the opportunity to explain and promote regional strengths and potential customers as the backbone for entrepreneurship, and how it is possible to make a market without the capital required simply by creating an environment of open innovation and connecting with regional stakeholders.

During this event, Suzzi Pegg and DeWitt Peart explained that “over $1billion in research driven by academics and scientists leads to innovations that need to be aligned with markets,” adding that “the cost of developing those innovations for markets is higher if the markets are not involved in the innovation process.”

November, 2012