DURHAM -- Since Marc Sedam started working at the University of New Hampshire in 2010, thousands of students have been exposed to the concept of entrepreneurship.
Sedam was the founding director of the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center and serves as the executive director of the New Hampshire Innovation Research Center. He is the associate vice provost for innovation and new ventures and managing director of UNHInnovation.
“The Paul College is the academic home for entrepreneurship, so they’re teaching classes. They have the Holloway Competition, and all that stuff… So, you see kids from Paul College over here because they want to work on those ideas, and we’re giving them a place they can work on that stuff,” Sedam said.
“But we see engineers, art history majors and sculptors. And from a graduate population, where the focus is more refined, it’s biomedical engineering and electrical engineering, biochemists. It’s basically every discipline under the sun,” Sedam said.
Sedam said the Entrepreneurship Center sees at least 600 students a year taking advantage of their offerings.
For the past two years, Sedam has been instrumental in efforts to establish a research park planned for a parcel of land located west of the football stadium near an intersection with Mast Road. There are 270 of these parks in the United States.
University officials hope the park will attract companies that can benefit from having access to UNH students and faculty.
“It’s coming soon, what I like to tell people is we’re super enthusiastic about it. We have a good business model. We’re really convinced that it works. But we owe it to the stakeholders to make sure that they believe what we believe and that they agree with this,” Sedam said.
Sedam explained that there are some procedural hurdles they have to get through within the University and the system to make the commitment. He’s hopeful they will have something to say about the park by the end of the calendar year.
UNH has hundreds of different license agreements per year, Sedam said.
Brent Loy, emeritus professor of plant genetics, and his groundbreaking research has generated more that $2 million in royalties since commercialization of his hybrid and inbred varieties started. UNH officials expect royalties generated by this portfolio to increase each year.
Soteria Solutions on Madbury Road was co-founded by Jane Stapleton, who was one of the UNH researchers behind a report released by the college in January that estimated 52 percent of women and 22 percent of men in New Hampshire have been victims of sexual harassment at work. The report led to the development of Soteria, which provides training, consulting and other services to curb sexual harassment in the workplace.
“One year we had licensed that idea something like 100 times. It basically had to become a startup company because it was making such a substantial impact the only way to continue to grow it was to spin them out,” Sedam said.
UNH has also become a leader in creative works licensing, Sedam said.
Sedam credits his success to the environment UNH has created for him, calling the college a place where he can feel free to think creatively.
“Honestly, I’m proud of the University. All I did was unlock its potential. The stuff was all here. I didn’t make anything. The work of the faculty and the work of the students, and the work of the staff, has been here all along,” Sedam said.