University of St. Thomas to host Invention to Venture conference Oct. 6

University of St. Thomas to host Invention to Venture conference Oct. 6

The University of St. Thomas School of Engineering will host "Invention to Venture," a daylong workshop that explores technology entrepreneurship, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, in Room 304, Murray-Herrick Campus Center, on the university's St. Paul campus.

"Invention to Venture" is part of a national effort to tap the entrepreneurial ambitions of students and faculty on college campuses in the United States. Participants discover how to turn an idea into a new-product venture, and how to connect with local people and programs to help them turn their ideas into reality. Participants will learn technology entrepreneurship basics, build their networks and develop plans to move their ideas forward.

Workshop sessions and presenters include:

  • "Why Attorneys Make People Wine (Whine)," with Kyle Peterson, an attorney with Patterson, Thuente, Skaar and Christensen, a 30-member intellectual-property law firm based in Minneapolis. In 1995, Peterson and his family founded WineHaven Winery and Vineyard in Chisago City, Minn. Peterson is a St. Thomas alumnus; he earned a bachelor of science degree in manufacturing engineering in 1998 and an M.B.A. in 2004. He also has a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He studied winemaking at Cornell University and recently completed the Wine Executive Program at the University of California, Davis.
  • "Idea Validation and Opportunity Assessment," with Jay Schrankler, executive director of the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization
  • "Marketing and Sales for Early-Stage Companies," with Chris Berghoff, CEO of  Chanhassan-based Control Products Inc. and Protected Home
  • "Issues of Intellectual Property Licensing," with patent attorney Mark Deffmer and engineering professor Greg Mowry.
  • "Building the Team," with Dr. Steve Case, founder and chairman of Minneapolis-based Cyberoptics Corp., a technology manufacturing company
  • "The Perfect Business Plan, Slide Show and 'Elevator Speech,' "with Steve Pederson, managing director of Concerto Venture Partners, LLC, an early-stage venture firm
  • "Finding the Money," with Joe Phillips, former director of corporate development of Imation Corp., and Barbara Hensley, founder of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

"Invention to Venture" also is co-hosted by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, a network of nearly 200 U.S. colleges and universities that fosters experiential invention, innovation and entrepreneurship education; and Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Concordia College, Hamline University and North Dakota State University.

"Invention to Venture" is designed for science and technology students and faculty, members of the business community and interested entrepreneurs.

Registration fees range from $10 for undergraduate students to $50 for business people. Fees include lunch, refreshments and conference materials. Scholarships are available. Register online at

For more information about "Invention to Venture," call Jan Becker of the St. Thomas School of Engineering, (651) 962-5755.