Deborah Dewey is an experienced business development professional with over seven years of experience. After completing her MBA, Deborah went on to work for GE – General Electric as a project manager, and general manager. After three and a half years, she decided to take her career to Western Kentucky Energy by taking the role of President. During the first six months of her five years at the company she was able to take the 500 employee company out of near bankruptcy and into positive earnings. She then began her career as a consultant to new companies in the energy industry. Deborah offered financial consulting to these companies and helped them raise capital funding. Now Deborah is working as a the acting President of GAGA: Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville.
- What made you decide to pursue a career in Venture Funding?
I have not been a Venture capitalist, but have worked with entrepreneurs and angel investors in developing business plans and prospectuses for use in raising capital. I have pitched to venture capitalists and private equity fund managers and also counsel entrepreneurs in pitching to raise capital.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working as a Venture Capitalist?
The commercialization of innovation is the most exciting aspect for me; identifying commercial applications, evaluating the potential for commercialization and taking it through actual commercialization and new business launch phases. It provides challenge, incorporates all aspects of business development, market identification, management, establishing organizational structure, etc.
- What was your major at Florida Tech?
Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering; I later received a Masters of Business Administration from UCF.
- How did your education at Florida Tech prepare you for a career as a Venture Capitalist?
The BSME allows me to better understand the technical aspects of innovation, but it has been a unique career that has included managing large operations with full P&L responsibility, taking a turn as an entrepreneur, and working in economic development that allows me to understand what the venture capitalist needs to see in order to invest. The management team credentials for execution are just as important as the business idea and/or innovation itself and potential market size.
- What advice would you give to students who are interested in a career in Venture Funding?
Launch a business yourself and/or try to raise capital for a project, no matter how small. It will force you to understand what questions have to be answered and what is required to raise capital.