Our mission is threefold: (1) to provide data-driven consulting solutions to promote sustained growth of emerging technologies and scalable business, (2) to provide hands-on experience in the business of science and technology, focusing on the developing of transferable knowledge and skills for post-graduate professionals, and (3) to support, expand, and shape entrepreneurship and innovation in the St. Louis region and beyond.
The Biotechnology and Life Science Advising Group (BALSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in December 2010 by a group of biomedical PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows from Washington University School of Medicine (WashU) in St. Louis, MO. The goal of the group is to supplement academic training by providing real-world experience in the science of business and development of transferable professional skills to better prepare members for both academic and non-academic career paths. BALSA further aims to offer a bridge between academia and industry, fostering collaborations between local universities and companies, to strengthen the young and vibrant startup community in St. Louis.
Number of Active Members
Our consultants comprise of members from WashU, Saint Louis University,and the St. Louis professional community.
Since its inception, BALSA has grown to encompass approximately 100 active members from WashU, Saint Louis University (SLU), and the St. Louis professional community. Consultants come from a myriad of backgrounds including cell biology, neuroscience, immunology, microbiology, genetics and genomics, cancer biology, plant biology, chemistry, engineering, business and law. While members enter with little experience in professional consulting, BALSA harnesses the analytical power of graduate students and postdocs by teaching them to apply the systematic, critical thinking approach of the scientific method to business problems to generate innovative, data-driven solutions for clients. Consultants learn the market research skills necessary to deliver these recommendations through teamwork and peer-to-peer mentoring with experienced project managers and advisors.
Since 2011, BALSA has engaged with more than 132 independent clients, ranging from startups, universities, mid-large size companies, and other organizations. We have provided consulting services to companies across 11 US states as well as a few international institutions. BALSA teams have completed more than 210 projects on a wide variety of topics including market research, technology development, competitor analysis, business plan development, and consumer facing materials.
Words from the President
As the 2018 BALSA executive board prepares for the upcoming year, we are reminded of the dedication and support that exist in BALSA on every level. I am thrilled to be working with both tenured as well as new officers as we work to reach various milestones to improve and continue BALSA’s success. We are grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization and eager to see what the future has in store.
We are excited to continue to improve BALSA as a resource for consultants, clients, and members of the St. Louis community. To this end, The BALSA Group was given the opportunity to increase our presence at the BALSA Foundation Awards ceremony, which provides grants to budding St. Louis entrepreneurs. This ceremony was a refreshing reminder that the work we perform as consultants has a meaningful impact on talented individuals. Additionally, the BALSA Group won the Liberman Leadership Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which recognizes outstanding student groups. This honor is a testament to the invaluable educational experience that our members receive by participating in BALSA.
As we move forward, be on the lookout for ways to increase your involvement with BALSA, whether that be through participating in projects, attending professional development workshops or stopping by our monthly Friday happy hours. Our enthusiastic and engaged membership and client base are what makes us such an outstanding organization. I look forward to seeing you all very soon!
Erica Thomas (6/2/2018)