TECHNOLOGY BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE A UNIVERSITY SPINOFF
High Technology Based Entrepreneurship is a key factor to foster economic development in every country. Universities are the logic institutions where knowledge is generated, accumulated and shared to society through teaching, research and consulting. However their main mission comprises serving society by providing knowledge and professionals to foster economic development, which is mainly achieved by research activities and new developments that arise. In this paper, we take for granted that the undergraduates and graduate students, but especially the ones enrolled on a science doctorate program (Ph. D), can be the young innovative force that carries high technology research, come up with innovative solutions to society needs and –in the same track- participate in the creation of new ventures. This is especially important for a third world country as Mexico. To address this objective, many institutions have created programs to enhance the entrepreneurship spirit among their students. One of these programs was developed at our University exclusively for Ph.D, students since 2006, which is called Doctorate Spinoff Program. This paper present the results of a qualitative research based on 26 interviews with the participants in this program to gather their perceptions and opinions of this program, as well as to assess the strengths, weaknesses and challenges encountered by these students while following the entrepreneurial path. The participants provide new means to take advantage of the market opportunities in Latin America and to shed new light on key issues of entrepreneurship development for university authorities. Some of the key findings for our university refer to dealing with the technology transfer issues (specially patenting and licensing) and the need for a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem that matches knowledge development and new business needs.