Alan Hall speech at E Station ceremony

(Note: these are my notes from Alan’s Hall speech at the E Station ribbon cutting. They are his words, as well as I could capture them, not mine.)

I hope that in the future we’ll look back on this date and realize that this initiative has been a success.

If just one great company comes out of all this investment, perhaps the size of MarketStar, then we would count this as a great success. But we think we have a secret sauce and have the ability to create many successful companies.

My wife and I have been blessed by the Lord with financial resources. We feel a need to give back. The IRS says we own these assets, but we believe they belong to the Lord, and we are stewards over them.

We hope to build many companies and create many new jobs here in Utah.

Our goal is not to take the money after a harvest and keep it.

After a liquidity event, the money will go back into the fund. It won’t inure to our benefit. It will be an economic engine that can keep helping the Utah economy.

The governor has a vision for economic development, and we think there is nothing wrong with private individuals contributing where they can. Our expertise is in entrepreneurship, so we want to help where we can.

We are not here to take any credit to ourselves. We intend to deflect it to others.

We have a good team of people. Craig Bott, CEO, Chuck Duncan, Gary Winger, Greg Warnock, Sherm Smith, Chris Anderson, Kent Thomas.

Our five year goal is to see 100 new companies from Provo to Logan that are helped by Grow Utah Ventures. Besides the GUV dollars we have to invest, we are looking for other investors. $15 million to me is a lot of money, so we need partners to help generate this funding.

How will we find 100 companies to invest in?

1. Conditioning: we want to let entrepreneurs know the resources that are available to help them.

We already have 2 companies a day looking for money on our GUV web site.

2. Investing. We will put our money into these companies, but we want to own no more than one third of the company.

I’ve learned that the moment you take control away from the entrepreneur that you lose some of their vigor.

3. Rallying Others. I’ve noticed that I will run out of money personally if I keep investing, so we are looking for 100 other accredited investors in the state that will invest.

We’re also trying to rally other financial institutions, education, and government to the cause.

We have partnered with Lumin Publishing (publisher of Connect Magazine) to sponsor 5 events attracting about 1,500 people.

Greg Warnock came up with a Junto program about a year ago. Junto means together in Spanish. Benjamin Franklin had a Junto group that met to discuss political issues.

In our Junto program we meet for 8 weeks, 3 hours a week, we teach them how to be entrepreneurs.

Some come away having learned that they are not entrepreneurs.

But we take 10 each year whom we think can be serial entrepreneurs, and we invest $50,000 in them.

Bill Gates was student age when he came up with his great idea.

We have invested in 15 students to date.

We have already invested $3 million in 15 companies from Provo to Ogden.

As part of our rallying, we’ve formed angel investor groups in several places.

Jim Ellsworth here is the head of Olympus Angels. They have about 20 members.

Our goal is at the end of the first quarter, we’ll have 100 investors to invest $25,000 each per year over ther next five years. That is $12.5 million.

We want to support other incubators in Utah as well. The Simmons family is honoring their parents with an incubator building, at the Davis Applied Technology College. The Hall Foundation is making an investment there as well.

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

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3 Comments

  1. Ryan

    Great blog. I enjoy your insights. I work for a private equity/business development firm in Denver, which acts as an incubator at times, but certainly not using the model described above. Fascinating.

    It sounds like the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Utah. I would love to get together sometime in the future to get your insights on building a healthier and more cooperative entrepreneurial community in Colorado.

  2. Paul,

    I’m with a number of small businesses. I’m a student at BYU and I’m going to graduate next month. I have attended a number of your luncheons and I thoroughly enjoy your blog.

    One of the companies I’m working with, http://www.somethinglocal.com has moved into a virtual office in the new wellsfargo building in Provo.

    I remember you once talking about an incubator group/ building you were working on in provo. Is that still going on? How does a company apply for a position?

    Our lease with Bluefin Professional Center http://www.bluefindevelopment.com is up in 3 months. Do you suggest trying to work with an incubator group? Or should we just keep where we are?

  3. Russell Page

    Stewards of assets

    How many wealthy people in the world do you know that would say this?
    My wife and I have been blessed by the Lord with financial resources. We feel a need to give back. The IRS says we own these assets, but we believe they belong to the Lord, and we …

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