CSA Explains… Chicago Area Resources to Grow Your Business


Tim J. Smith, PhD
Founder and CEO, Wiglaf Pricing

Published June 11, 2003

For entrepreneurs, the time lag between business concept formulation and the achievement of positive cash flows can be excruciatingly long. Even the challenge of writing the business plan and capturing sufficient venture capital can prove insurmountable for many good business ideas. To aid entrepreneurs in this interim state, dignitaries from various agencies shared how they can help at the CSA Explains event held on Friday, 30 May 2003 and attended by 31 individuals.

Jeff Coney, Director of New Business Initiatives at the Northwestern University ITEC, began by sharing the two methods he uses to help finance new ventures. At one level, he opens up his personal contact list for promising technologies and provides introductions for potential early customers. At the second level, he helps these ventures find venture capital. The Northwestern ITEC has some good success stories as well. Accel Chip, associated with field programmable gate arrays (FPG), and application specific integrated circuits (ASIC), has recently achieved first round venture financing. Other success coming out of the Northwestern ITEC are Bodacion providing hacker-proof servers, B2P Commerce providing a QuickBooks overlay for non-profits, and CellAnalysis providing digital imagery for the detection of breast cancer. When he evaluates a new venture for support, he examines the management team, market opportunity, value proposition, and likelihood of funding.

Lynne Baker, Director of Partnership Development of the Illinois Coalition discussed the movement of the Illinois Coalition towards a hub resource for coordinating the activities of the numerous forms of early venture financial support and expertise. These include universities, federal grants, state investments, angel funds, private investors, venture capitalist, associations, and service providers. In support of this effort, Ms. Baker provided a comprehensive source guide of agencies and their resources.

Jack Curley, Technology Marketing Manager at Battelle, helps entrepreneurs achieve DoD and NASA research grants, contracts, and licenses. He evaluates his aide to entrepreneurs based upon a technology assessment, opportunity assessment, and stage of development. Firms associated with the Battelle program have had success in early stage financing, including 25 clients that have received $24 million in funding from various sources

Linda Darragh, Director Technology & Venture Program of the Women’s Business Development Center explained how the WBE certification program helps early ventures achieve market entrance. The WBE certification status is valued by corporations and public agencies. Her agency helps entrepreneurs achieve access to capital, markets, information, and advocacy.

Freida Curry, Director Center for Urban Business at UIC shared the free resource entrepreneurs have through their academic programs. For instance, the UIC Entrepreneurship Studies Program provides student teams to accomplish goals for early stage companies.

Finally, our very own Candy Renwall, President, Chicago Software Association, shared her vision of the future of the CSA and its support of technology ventures at all stages of development. These include discount programs, referrals, as well as information rich presentations such as the CSA Explains series.

Thank you to Aimee Daniels, Sr. VP and Division Head Commercial Lending, LaSalle Bank for moderating this event.

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About The Author

Tim J. Smith, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Wiglaf Pricing, an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Economics at DePaul University, and the author of Pricing Done Right (Wiley 2016) and Pricing Strategy (Cengage 2012). At Wiglaf Pricing, Tim leads client engagements. Smith’s popular business book, Pricing Done Right: The Pricing Framework Proven Successful by the World’s Most Profitable Companies, was noted by Dennis Stone, CEO of Overhead Door Corp, as "Essential reading… While many books cover the concepts of pricing, Pricing Done Right goes the additional step of applying the concepts in the real world." Tim’s textbook, Pricing Strategy: Setting Price Levels, Managing Price Discounts, & Establishing Price Structures, has been described by independent reviewers as “the most comprehensive pricing strategy book” on the market. As well as serving as the Academic Advisor to the Professional Pricing Society’s Certified Pricing Professional program, Tim is a member of the American Marketing Association and American Physical Society. He holds a BS in Physics and Chemistry from Southern Methodist University, a BA in Mathematics from Southern Methodist University, a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and an MBA with high honors in Strategy and Marketing from the University of Chicago GSB.