West Virginia University’s array of programs to create, encourage and support entrepreneurship and the innovation economy in the state got a boost Friday as the Board of Governors approved $1.8 million to lease and renovate space for the College of Business and Economics Startup Engine, the University’s first startup accelerator program.
The “Startup Engine” would “complete the entrepreneurship ecosystem that exists inside WVU,” according to documents supporting the expenditure. The program’s “mission will be to attract, select and accelerate startups focused on the sectors/industries identified in the West Virginia Forward report with the objective of supporting the diversification of the state’s economy.”
The entrepreneurship ecosystem comprises 14 different units or programs at the University that offer multiple resources to students, faculty, staff and members of the community who aspire to think, learn and succeed creatively. WV Forward is a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Commerce and others to help identify and pair West Virginia's unique assets with economic trends that will leverage growth and development opportunities to strengthen and diversify all regions of the state.
The Startup Engine would support diversification of the state’s economy through sector-specific, cohort-based business development programs. The program will help startups hone their ideas, access seed capital, develop mentor relationships and partner with existing businesses.
In addition, the program will build on WVU’s role as a R1 research institution.
The program will be located across University Avenue from other programs housed in B&E: the BrickStreet Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and the Center for Executive Education. The renovation will be financed with private donations.
The WVU Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Applied Ecosystem is a university-wide web of centers, offices and programs that fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship among WVU students, faculty and staff while engaging the statewide community.
Areas include the BrickStreet Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, IDEA Faculty Fellows, WVU Women’s Business Center, Davis Young Innovators program, WVU Extension Service, Patent and Trademark Resource Center, Health Sciences Innovation Center, LaunchLab Network, Legal Clinics, Media Innovation Center, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the MakerLab and Technology Transfer.
In other business, the Board:
· Adopted several rules regarding finance and administration, emergency management and campus safety.
· Approved for comment another batch of rules governing a variety of University activities. Most of the changes were simply reorganizing previous policies into rules as permitted by the Legislature in 2017 removing WVU, Marshall and the School of Osteopathic Medicine from some oversight by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The rules will be available for comment for 30 days beginning Monday at https://policies.wvu.edu/.
· Approved the lease of property adjacent to Mountaineer Station on Van Voorhis Drive to the WVU Medicine for a new 750-space parking facility. Also approved amendment of a previous lease to allow construction of a new WVU Medicine Children’s tower.
· Approved several building name changes and relocations to accommodate the moves of several units from Stansbury Hall to make way for its demolition for the building of a new facility for the College of Business and Economics.
The Board’s next scheduled meeting is Nov. 9 in Morgantown.
CONTACT: John A. Bolt; University Relations/Communications
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