Supporting Entrepreneurship

Georgetown’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) fosters new venture activity and entrepreneurship centered around GU technologies. We proudly stand as a steadfast ally for Georgetown faculty, staff, students, and local and regional entrepreneurs venturing into new enterprises built upon Georgetown University technologies. Our expert OTC team is committed to streamlining the creation of innovative ventures fueled by GU’s cutting-edge advancements.

We are here to guide and support innovators at every step of the way as they navigate the intricacies of forming new ventures. Our goal is to offer insightful advice on the fundamental considerations associated with startups and entrepreneurial endeavors, equipping individuals with the tools needed to navigate specific challenges that may arise throughout the entire tech transfer process. Deciding to commercialize technology is a distinctive and demanding journey, and the information provided on this website is crafted to offer direction to our Georgetown entrepreneurs as they embark on this transformative expedition alongside us.

Startup Guidance & Processes

Embarking on the journey to commercialize an invention involves navigating a process filled with opportunities. If, despite marketing efforts, an invention remains unlicensed or holds potential for a strategic startup, the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) collaborates with inventors in deciding on the establishment of a company. In this case, the inventor should inform the OTC, adhere to university policies, and work in tandem with the OTC to negotiate a license agreement for the invention. The University, through the OTC, conducts diligence provisions in license agreements for startup companies and may convene a committee to review licensing and conflicts related to inventor entrepreneurs.

As you contemplate initiating this entrepreneurial journey as the inventor, our team is ready to offer guidance on compliance with university policies and collaborative efforts to negotiate a licensing agreement aligned with your objectives. The support extends to formulating a comprehensive business plan, detailing development strategies, product or service descriptions, target markets, and financial considerations preceding the negotiation phase. Expect further elucidation on these processes in forthcoming sessions, as the OTC serves as an assisting entity and a collaborative partner dedicated to facilitating and advocating for your innovative pursuits.

Sometimes, the most effective commercialization pathway involves licensing to an existing company, leveraging its complementary technologies, expertise, and market channels. However, this may not always be feasible, especially when dealing with early-stage and disruptive technologies where sufficient data for derisking is lacking. In such instances, starting a company becomes a viable alternative.

This journey demands commitment, dedication, and perseverance. Despite the challenges, starting a company strategically holds the potential for significant contributions to societal advancement. Key elements for success include a compelling concept, a robust market opportunity, a competitive advantage, a sound business plan, and an experienced management team. Georgetown’s Office of Technology Commercialization works closely with inventors to build teams, create business cases, and prepare startups for licensing, ensuring that innovative technologies find their way to market and create a lasting impact.


  • A startup is a new company using a university’s technology to start.
  • These companies are created to work on and develop the technology they’re licensing.
  • Startups can be formed before the license is officially signed while founders plan the business and seek investors or grants.
  • It doesn’t matter if the university or someone else forms the company; what matters is whether it’s specifically created to license and develop the technology.


  • A spin-out is a new company formed when people at a university decide to turn a technology developed there into its own independent business.
  • This term suggests a direct connection to the university, as the technology comes from there.
  • Spin-outs often involve licensing technology from the university, and those involved may include researchers, faculty, or students.

New Venture:

  • “New venture” is a general term that can mean any new business, including startups and spin-outs.
  • In university tech terms, it could refer to a startup or spin-out created to bring a specific technology to market.

Note: According to AUTM (Association of University Technology Managers), startup companies are those formed specifically to license and develop the technology being licensed, regardless of whether the university or someone else forms the company.

  1. Report the Invention:
    • Complete an Invention Disclosure Form and submit it to the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC).
    • Collaborate with licensing managers to assess the patent landscape and evaluate the commercial potential of the invention.
  2. Intellectual Property Protection:
    • Work closely with OTC to file a patent application before the invention becomes public.
    • Recognize that intellectual property (IP) may be a primary asset for the new business, highlighting the importance of protecting it early on.
  3. Network:
    • Seek support for Idea Incubation through university resources.
    • Find mentorship opportunities within the entrepreneurial community.
    • Participate in university programs that foster entrepreneurship.
    • Engage with potential investors to seek input and review ideas.
  4. Plan the Business:
    • Define the business mission and vision.
    • Conduct a competitive analysis and market assessment.
    • Develop a comprehensive business plan covering funding needs, the path to productization, sales strategy, and team excellence.
    • Address legal aspects, including founder’s agreements.
  5. License or Option Agreement with OTC:
    • Work with OTC to establish a license or option agreement for the technology.
    • Be aware of university policies and manage potential conflicts of interest during the licensing process.
  6. Financing Strategy:
    • Understand various funding types and sources available for startups.
    • Explore federal grant programs and other funding opportunities.
    • Develop a financing strategy that aligns with the needs and goals of the spin-out company.
    • Leverage your network to connect with potential investors and funding partners.
  7. Execution and Iteration:
    • Implement the business plan and work towards productization.
    • Regularly reassess and iterate the business strategy based on market feedback and changing circumstances.
    • Stay connected with the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for ongoing support and guidance.

University Policies 

Office of Research Oversight/Regulatory AffairsDisclosure of Outside Professional Activities

“Outside Professional Activities” are defined as those that “either (i) do not contribute to fulfilling a faculty member’s research, teaching, and service responsibilities to the University, or (ii) are conducted as a PI, co-PI, or in any other role listed as committing effort to a sponsored research, service or education grant or contract awarded through another institution or entity without a subcontract to Georgetown.”

Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)Conflict of Interest Guidelines

The Policy requires all faculty and most staff to file disclosure forms annually and to update their disclosures when circumstances change. All “Investigators” must update their forms within 30 days of discovering or acquiring a new financial interest related to their university responsibilities.

Faculty HandbookFaculty Rights and Responsibilities

“The University allows and encourages all faculty to engage in other professional activities and relationships that foster professional development and enhance the mission of the University, when these activities do not undermine the fulfillment of their University responsibilities or compromise the basic values of transparency, objectivity, impartiality, integrity of scholarship, and independence. “

University Resources

Georgetown Entrepreneurship

Georgetown Entrepreneurship inspires and supports the university community’s entrepreneurial mindset and initiatives.

Learn more

Learn How Entrepreneurs Identify and Solve Problems

“In this course, you will learn what goes into launching a business. You will identify your target customers, create a story for your product, write a business pitch, and practice leadership behaviors that can inspire a team, prove out ideas, and test your brand concept.”

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Extensive Library Resources

Explore Georgetown Univeristy’s comprehensive library offerings tailored to guide you through every stage of starting and growing a successful business.

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Georgetown Ventures

“Georgetown Ventures is a nonprofit, student-run startup accelerator at Georgetown University. Since its inception in 2017, GV has empowered over 90 passionate entrepreneurs to realize their impactful ideas and raise over $30 million in collective funding.”

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The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program

“An immersive, entrepreneurial training program that facilitates the transformation of invention to impact. Widely recognized as an effective training program in the U.S. and internationally, I-Corps addresses four urgent national needs: Training an entrepreneurial workforce, Translating technologies, Enabling positive economic impact, and Nurturing an innovation ecosystem.”

Learn more

SBIR/STTR programs

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs

“Federal innovation, scientific achievement, and diverse entrepreneurship through small business innovation and research. Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, America’s Seed Fund awards non-dilutive funding to develop your technology and chart a path toward commercialization. The federal government invests in your solution and gives you the freedom to run your business according to your vision.”

Learn more

Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Visit Johnson & Johnson Innovation for information on accelerating early-stage innovation through strategic partnerships. Johnson & Johnson Innovation is committed to addressing global health challenges and advancing scientific breakthroughs to improve worldwide health. Their successful track record reflects the emphasis on integrating internal expertise with promising external innovations. Their mission is to unlock the potential of life science innovation.

Our Ecosystem

Georgetown’s OTC keeps a dynamic ecosystem committed to propelling innovation and entrepreneurship through a multifaceted network of strategic partners. This collaborative framework extends its reach across diverse domains, fostering advancements in networking, mentoring, funding, education, and training initiatives. By engaging with a spectrum of partners, OTC ensures a comprehensive approach to business services, enabling seamless collaboration and exchange of ideas. Furthermore, the ecosystem catalyzes incubation and acceleration, propelling entrepreneurial ventures and research endeavors to new heights. The synergy created within this ecosystem is a testament to the commitment to providing a holistic support structure where ideas flourish, businesses thrive, and innovation becomes a driving force for positive change.

Licensing and Business-Related Sites

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