ST. GEORGE — With a goal to “create many millionaires” in Southern Utah, investors announced plans Thursday to put $100 million toward entrepreneurs in Washington County.
Teallach Partners, an investing and consulting firm, announced the Dixie Commercialization Fund on the heels of the public unveiling of singer Alex Boyé’s music video in collaboration with Dixie State University. The money in the Dixie Commercialization Fund will help entrepreneurs from the university or from the community build their business ideas through the Dixie State Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.
Purpose of the Dixie Commercialization Fund
The Dixie State TIE Center already has the foundation to help build lasting business ideas, said Clifford Herbertson, one of the co-founders of Teallach Partners from London. Under the guidance of Wayne Provost, who has worked on hundreds of patents and founded and owned dozens of companies, the TIE Center helps entrepreneurs develop their ideas from concepts to patented products.
What the Dixie Commercialization Fund will now provide is a way to further capitalize the entrepreneurs’ ideas.
“This is not something where there is any state subsidy or anything like that coming in,” Herbertson said. “We are looking for and will be raising the funds from private funders.”
Dixie State will receive 12.5 percent of all returns generated by the fund. Investors and other financial partners of the entreprenuers’ projects will also share equity with the students’ companies, Herbertson said.
The $100 million is slated to start becoming available to entrepreneurs by the end of August, said Ross Wall, another one of the co-founders from Washington City. In the meantime, Teallach Partners will invest $1 million to help people with business ideas now.
It’s not just money Teallach Partners is bringing to Dixie State. Through the TIE Center, they will be able to offer a commercialization course to help teach entrepreneurs.
“We’re going to bring the tutoring and mentoring to help, really help, someone go from a concept or idea to a fully fledged business that will create economic value for many many people here in (Southern Utah),” Herbertson said.
Impacts of the fund
Instead of trying to attract big businesses to relocate to Southern Utah by offering tax breaks, Wall said he hopes the Dixie Commercialization Fund will lead to original business ideas to “germinate” and grow here.
“We’re at a place where we’re opening up opportunities for greater employment, for expansion down here in Southern Utah, and the ability to grow business from the roots,” Wall said.
The “enormous” recent economic growth in Utah has mostly been centered in Northern Utah, but there are just as many innovators in Southern Utah to invest in, Herbertson said.
“We love making and creating millionaires,” he said. “If we create many millionaires down here, that’s success.”
The Dixie Commercialization Fund will not only be available for students at Dixie State, but also community members who have good ideas, Wall said.
Dixie State President Richard Williams said the Dixie Commercialization Fund is “indicative” of the university’s growth and receiving university stature five years ago.
“This is a revolutionary measure that wouldn’t be possible without Teallach Partners, and we’re so appreciative for their role in establishing (Dixie State) as a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation.”
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