About the von Liebig Center

The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, within the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur at UC San Diego, is focused on accelerating commercialization of university discoveries through proof of concept programs, business mentoring, and education.

The von Liebig Center was founded in 2001 and is one of the nation’s first and most successful University proof of concept centers.

Our Technology and Business Advisors are seasoned entrepreneurs and domain experts with extensive experience in commercialization of early stage technologies. These advisors serve as technology managers/early stage executives that guide the entrepreneurial teams through the technology validation, customer discovery and business model creation process.

At the core of the program is its milestone-based approach to technology and market validation by which the innovators, working with Technology and Business Advisors who serve as mentors, focus on assessing the market potential of the technology while building a minimum viable product that demonstrates the commercial potential of the technology outside the laboratory.

The von Liebig Center’s process for technology and market validation follows a sequential and gradual screening and de-risking of the inventions that allows for resources (both financial and human) to be allocated efficiently and effectively. Selection of candidates into the program follows a screening process done by experts in the field that ensures that chosen technologies not only possess a high level of innovativeness and address a significant market opportunity, but also that the innovator teams are comprised of individuals with strong commitment to the technology commercialization process.

In 2008, the Kauffman Foundation identified the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, as one of the two national models to accelerate commercialization of university technology. The Kauffman Foundation selected the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center because of its integrated approach to the commercialization of university technologies. Since then, the von Liebig Center has expanded its model and has partnered with local and international organizations interested in catalyzing regional entrepreneurship and innovation. For example, in 2008, the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center partnered with the City of San Diego to develop a regional model of its Technology Acceleration Program initially focused on clean technology commercialization. In 2010, the Center together with the Rady School of Management was awarded $1MM to accelerate clean energy technologies in Southern California. The Center has conducted similar programs in Southern California focused on technology sectors that include energy, wireless healthcare and low cost healthcare innovation.

In 2013, the Center expanded its program offerings by becoming one of the first NSFfunded I-corps sites to help disseminate the lean startup methodology to scientists and engineers interested in starting their own company.

The von Liebig Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering was founded in 2001, through a generous gift from the William J. von Liebig Foundation of Naples, Florida. William J. von Liebig was a medical device pioneer. He established Meadox Medicals, Inc, which manufactured implants and devices for vascular surgery.