Can a Scientist be an Entrepreneur

Can a Scientist Be a Good Entrepreneur?

Learn why a scientist can be great at the startup game! (Online and in-person)

Industry career workshop for scientists

The career path of the scientist and the entrepreneur seem very different to many people, with each requiring its own unique set of skills, knowledge, and talents. But this expectation is linked to stereotypes about entrepreneurs that are based on the exception rather than the rule. The truth is that many scientists have started their own companies and grown them into successful businesses.

Quite the opposite of the ‘adrenaline junkie risk-taker’ stereotype, these scientists-turned-entrepreneurs analyzed the business opportunity and took a calculated risk. And while starting a new company certainly has risks, taking those risks can result in a big reward. Those scientists who have been successful now enjoy the reward of providing both products and employment for many others. They have made their own significant and unique dent in the universe.

Successful entrepreneurs learn quickly that there is often no single ‘right answer’ to the questions they face when building their companies. For a scientist who has been trained in the skills and habits of looking for right answers, this is often a shift in thinking. At TurningScience, we say that being successful in any capacity in the private sector requires understanding that ‘It’s a game, not a formula.

If you’ve ever suspected that perhaps that new technique you developed in the lab could be turned into something that would make the world a better place, you should consider this talk. And if you have ever thought about starting your own company, then this talk is definitely for you!  We will review the stories of successful scientists-turned-entrepreneurs and discuss the lessons that they have learned on their journeys so you know what you need and what you need to watch out for. We will also explore the strengths that make them successful - strengths that you likely possess as well!


David M. Giltner, PhD – Founder and President of TurningScience

David has spent more than twenty years developing cutting-edge photonics technologies into commercial products in the fields of optical communications, remote sensing, directed energy, and scientific instrumentation. In 2017 he started TurningScience to provide training and support for scientists of all disciplines seeking to enter the private sector as employees, collaborators, or entrepreneurs.

David is the author of the books Turning Science into Things People Need: Voices of Scientists Working in Industry and It’s a Game, not a Formula: How to Succeed as a Scientist Working in the Private Sector and is an internationally recognized speaker and mentor on the topics of technology commercialization, product development, and career design. David has a BS and PhD in physics and holds seven patents in the fields of laser spectroscopy and optical communications.

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This is also offered through NaturalScience.Careers under the title 'Can a Scientist be a good Entrepreneur?'