Thursday, October 8, 2015

Introducing the Entrepreneurism & Leadership Mentor Profile Series: Entrepreneur, Author, Founder & Mentor Jack Savidge

The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center is approaching its 15th year of serving the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering as a pathway to innovation and an organization dedicated to teaching entrepreneurism to the engineering leaders of tomorrow. Helping UC San Diego affiliates take their products into the market is one thing we’re more than proud of doing. In the last three years, we’ve taught more than 52 NSF I-Corps teams, awarded more than $500,000, raised over $1 million in early stage funding and launched two international programs in Asia and South America. The students from our program have had some incredible successes, taking home prizes every year at the UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge, California Dreamin’ Entrepreneurial Contests and even gained recognition at regional Social Innovation Challenges.
The Oculux I-Corps team takes home second place at Entrepreneur Challenge
We could not have accomplished these workshops and programs without our von Liebig advisors and mentors. At the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, we are tirelessly looking for those who have done their research, have proven their technology and are determined to put their product on the marketplace, so that we can connect them with mentors who are equally dedicated to seeing them succeed. Our advisors are seasoned entrepreneurs, former CEOs, directors, consultants and engineers, but most importantly they are also the mentors, coaches, experts and angels who have been instrumental in growing and expanding our teams’ businesses and market potential.

Wearless Tech Inc. completing the National I-Corps Program with von Liebig mentor Dennis Abremski

As a tribute to our wonderful staff of mentors and advisors, we would like to introduce a brand new series of mentor profiles to be featured in the Entrepreneurism and Leadership Programs newsletter every two weeks. Our mentors have amazing stories to tell and we are excited to share them with you.

For our first profile, we have selected an individual who has had an inspiring and unparalleled entrepreneurial career journey as well as a huge impact on the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center.

Jack Savidge Entrepreneur, Author, Founder & Mentor

Jack Savidge is a recognized entrepreneur, mentor, consultant and new venture teacher. At the Jacobs School, we know Jack as the influential founding member of the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center and the mastermind behind the Center’s unique model. His entrepreneurial career is unparalleled and has hit numerous bases; Jack shared that his career journey wandered through cutting grass, washing cars, driving delivery vans, fixing cars, creating high school field-days and refreshments stands and selling postcards to tour boat passengers. Then during 13 years with 3M Company he convinced management of the need for and became the firm’s 1st Marketing Manager. When he was 36, Jack left a 3M executive future to start an independent consulting company that spanned 45 years in La Jolla.  While a consultant to worldwide clients, the Executive Director of a local nonprofit and Vice Chairman of a regional health insurance plan, he also conceived a university-based technology incubator whose advisors of mentors, coaches, experts and angel­ advisors worked with potential UC San Diego entrepreneurs. He led the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center funding and formation in 2001. Jack has been an advisor for the Center since its inception and his card reads - Founder and Senior Advisor.

Despite his long and exciting entrepreneurial career, Jack explained there was not a particular moment where he was taught to or decided to become one. “I did not know what an entrepreneur was at age eight, when I clipped a comic book coupon to become a door-to-door seller of garden seed packets. Then World War II urged again selling Savings stamps and war bonds up and down my street. I learned the thrill of making the sale using only my skills as Jonathan Swift wrote, ‘vision is the art of seeing the invisible’ – and I would add ‘and making that vision almost real to a listener’.

Jack explained that this breadth of experience is what helped him become a mentor and learn more about the different PathMasters along the way. “One cannot be a consultant or mentor until one builds an experiential reservoir of how people, product and service users, and different cultures react to change,” Jack explained. “Potential technical entrepreneurs took me into their trust as, being marketing centered, and I represented no intellectual or experiential threat and was a good listener who would challenge their thinking.”

Jack’s Work with von Liebig

When Jack championed and gained approval to architect the Center in 1999, he envisioned a center that would continually create unique, entrepreneurial value-adding education and transfer processes that would accelerate industry adoption of Jacobs School knowledge, students and technology. He focused the von Liebig missions to be the transfer mechanism of proof-of-concept UCSD technology to the private sector, to transfer entrepreneurial knowledge to the UCSD community and to transfer entrepreneurism practices to Jacobs’s students. He strongly emphasized the importance in teaching people entrepreneurism the “why and what” of an entrepreneurial environment and delivering such course concepts that would be adapted by a scientific or engineering mindset. Jack knows that the von Liebig secret is its advisors and that emerging entrepreneurs should use them as their coaches, mentors and experts.

PathMasters for Microbusiness

“Most entrepreneurs reach for anyone called an “advisor” assuming they perform all roles of mentor, angel, coach and expert,” Jack explained. “In my view, this one size fits all is time and money wasting and hastens dissatisfaction between entrepreneur and advisor.” His recent book PathMasters for MicroBusiness guides micropreneurs (all start-ups microbusinesses) and current mentors/advisors to find each other,  how-to measure the other’s skills and needs, and what performance to expect from each other.”

Jack’s consulting assignments caused him to practice the role of each PathMaster. The book directly details differences of each PathMaster and best fit to help micropreneurs. The guidebook is thought-provoking as topics address the difficult, less talked about practices of poor counseling relationships, advisor compensation and their dismissal. PathMasters for MicroBusiness aims to guide micropreneurs and pathmasters alike, those who are budding entrepreneurs and those who are looking to begin and improve advisory consulting methods and behavior. Jack poses engaging questions and thoughts for entrepreneur and advisor to consider.

Jack’s Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs When asked what advice he would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs, Jack offered plenty: “Understand one’s inherent strengths and leverage those areas to seek value contributing work that excites one to get-up in the morning. It’s the old saying -- find a passion, follow it and the rewards will come. There is no Great Book with someone else’s map that will be yours - we all plot our own way. Think hard about the turns-in-the-road and measure to the next milestone by remembering that - ‘Risks are taken for success when the perceived rewards for success are greater than the perceived risks of failure. Perceptions of the two are measured with prudence.’”

1 comment:

  1. A note of appreciation to UCSD for this fine profile and particularly to Rosibel Ochoa, Director of the von Liebig Center. One does not hone a craft alone so my gratitude to these people I met along the way - learning at their knee and allowing me to whisper in their ear: Daniel E. Denham Dec.3M company, Exec VP; James U. Lemke, former president Spin Physics of the Eastman Kodak Company; Don Brucker Dec. founder Continuous Curve Contact Lenses; Myron Eichen Dec. - serial entrepreneur; and, Joe Bear former executive of the Jacobs School, UCSD. My career path has been exciting and as Frank Sinatra would say- I did it my way.