Helping to Commercialize
Sustainable Technology and Processes
Murray McLaughlin

The Vital Ingredients of Success

I recently read an article in the Financial Times Europe about Wu Cheng-Hsueh, a serial entrepreneur in Taiwan. Within the article were his tips for success:

  • Funds and experience are paramount. These, rather an ingenious business idea, are the two most important ingredients to success. They are also vital to giving you choices about the business you want. "When you are starting out and do not have a lot of funds, your choice of industries or businesses to get into is limited," Mr. Wu says.
  • Get a grip on every detail. An entrepreneur must have control over all the details of the business. "That is how you learn not to make the same mistake twice."
  • Be flexible, be fast. Have the courage to admit that you are wrong and, thereby, stop your losses. "If your strategy is incorrect, you have to adjust immediately - the speed and flexibility with which you do this will determine whether you succeed or fail."

Reading through these three points I began thinking about how it related to SCA and the start-up entrepreneurs that we deal with and, in some cases, have invested in. The tips to success do relate. Funds are critical and experience is a must. Not knowing the details means that you do not get funded. Flexibility to change direction and to stop or start over are true traits of an entrepreneur, as is making adjustments quickly (fast decisions).

To date at SCA Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, we have invested $4.7 million in 10 projects. Interestingly, at the time of our investments the entrepreneurial companies have raised over $100 million dollars. At this stage, it does not necessarily mean success but the funds are there to help. Time will tell the rest of the story. The 10 investments will be highlighted on the SCA website as agreements are finalized ( and their progress should be evident with news releases.
One of the investments committed to has made a decision to build a full scale manufacturing facility in Sarnia for their biobased chemistry joint venture - that is BioAmber. They are a true entrepreneurial company, who recognized the importance of a supportive community. Thanks to the people of Sarnia and Lambton County who have been and are committed to building a "Biohybrid Chemistry Cluster". Community commitment was a key ingredient in BioAmber's decision. Their vision has moved closer to reality, as they focus on attracting entrepreneurial companies to the region.

Sustainable Chemistry Alliance

Dr.Murray McLaughlin, President & CEO
1086 Modeland Rd. Sarnia, ON N7S 6L2
[email protected]


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Fall 2011 - SusChemAlliance - Page 1
Fall 2011 - SusChemAlliance - Page 1