Dialog with IEEE Entrepreneurship Committee

Why do you think entrepreneurs are important to IEEE? What experiences have you had in your career with entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, innovation, etc.? How would you, as IEEE President, support entrepreneurs?

Long gone are the days when a technologist can count on lifelong employment with a single company.  Also gone are the mega-research labs – the innovation paradigm in industry has shifted to hundreds/thousands of garage/basement start-ups. They are now the engines driving the technological revolution. Most of the entrepreneurs are energetic professionals pursuing their dreams of changing the world. Every IEEE member should develop entrepreneurial skills for their own self-survival, and experienced entrepreneurs are the best role models.

I have been a founder of three start-ups. I started a company in 1997 to develop the world’s first digital surveillance system at a time all the security systems are analog. I co-founded a company in 2002 on smart antenna chipset design later sold to Broadcom.  Now I am the founder of a company pioneering wireless AI for which I won prestigious 2017 CEATEC Grand Prix and 2020 CES Innovation Award with a product available in over 150 countries worldwide. As such, I was elected as a fellow of National Academy of Inventors.

Entrepreneurship is in my blood/DNA. When I was a member of the IEEE Board of Directors outreach to industry, I heard from everywhere that start-ups need more support from IEEE. Indeed, entrepreneurship is now a worldwide phenomenon. But where is IEEE, asked them? IEEE has not been present or visible in the entrepreneurial world until a few years ago when we started the Entrepreneurship program. After several years of endeavors by good hands, we are starting to see some success.  

Last year, I was Vice President, Technical Activates, the home of IEEE Entrepreneurship.  I appointed an ad hoc committee to create the “Powered by IEEE” program by consolidating/revising/creating products/services to meet the demands of start-ups. It has been integrated into the IEEE Entrepreneurship program. Because of worldwide demands, our services/products must be scalable to be able to make an impact anywhere, anytime. 

As the President of IEEE, entrepreneurship will be a top priority of my strategic plan. I will continue to build the IEEE Entrepreneurship ecosystem to bring researchers/technologists/venture angels/marketers together, and create products/services that could provide value to such an ecosystem to support and make a real impact to start-ups.   I aim to build and grow IEEE Entrepreneurship program to a significant IEEE operating unit and establish its leadership role with real impact to the world of entrepreneurs and start-ups, where the major breakthroughs and innovations are taking place.

© 2020 by  K.J.Ray Liu

​The opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the IEEE.

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