Consultant Profile: Kevin Weir
Area Center: State Director’s Office
Title: Technology Commercialization Business Consultant
Start Date: August 15, 2018
QUESTION: What was your career track prior to joining the SC SBDC network?
ANSWER: Previously I was the Business Platform Development and Innovation Leader at Milliken and Company based in Spartanburg, SC. In this role I led the Performance Products Division’s “front end of innovation” and new business implementation initiatives, focusing on commercial infrastructure & leading-edge composites markets.
My career spans technology development and commercialization. My specific skills focus on identifying and developing technology, technology transfer and international businesses development. These skills were attained through rewarding careers with Shell UK and The Dow Chemical Company. I am a trained practitioner of project management, Stage Gate Development and am a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. As an entrepreneur, I opened Innovation management companies in Germany and the US, where I led several new technology development projects for fortune 100 and 500 chemical companies.
QUESTION: What motivated you to become an SC SBDC consultant?
ANSWER: I wanted to support entrepreneurs with the extremely difficult task of commercializing their ideas and realizing their dreams.
QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you would offer aspiring business owners?
ANSWER: Let the ultimate user drive your idea and pull it through the value chain. Be sure to base your key financial and resource decisions on facts. Do not let your own assumptions drive your decisions. Let your customer prove your assumptions first!
QUESTION: Do you have a particular area of interest/expertise that you offer clients?
ANSWER: Technology, materials, advanced manufacturing techniques, voice of customer and developing strategic options. Raising funds for product development.
QUESTION: Since becoming an SC SBDC consultant, what is your greatest accomplishment?
ANSWER: Developing an investor pitch with my clients and raising funds to commercialize their products.
QUESTION: Why is the SBDC an important resource for small business owners in South Carolina?
ANSWER: There are few business resources to support early-stage businesses. Entrepreneurs benefit from the neutrality and experience of the SBDC team and their capability to identify business roadblocks, develop a path forward, connect to networks and find critical funding.
QUESTION: What is your favorite part about working for the SC SBDC?
ANSWER: Watching the clients make great business decisions and implementing them.
QUESTION: What quote/saying/maxim best expresses your approach toward work and/or life?
ANSWER: Use facts to guide your decisions. Ask the right questions and validate your critical assumptions.
QUESTION: What is your greatest challenge you’ve encountered while working as a consultant? How did you overcome it?
ANSWER: Clients tend to be all in on their product or technology. Generally, market risk is greater than technology risk. Balancing the focus of the client on customer needs, a value proposition, and a strong launch/ business model is at least as critical as the product.
QUESTION: What is your approach toward counseling?
ANSWER: Carry out a "Situation Analysis." This means understand the client’s idea, capabilities, technical and commercial readiness levels, goals and dreams. Then agree where the client is and create a roadmap to move the company forward that includes specific activities and plans.
QUESTION: What keeps you busy when you’re not at work? What is your hobby/passion?
ANSWER: Loving my wife and my family. Spending my time with them in the outdoors.