Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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December 18, 2023 | Tom Ballard

U News | VA Governor commits $90 million to launch biotech network

West Virginia partners secure grant to support youth entrepreneurship in rural communities.

From the Commonwealth of Virginia:

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced that Virginia will make a significant investment to launch a biotechnology, life sciences, and pharmaceutical manufacturing network to foster collaboration among three of the Commonwealth’s major existing university research institutions.

In his upcoming biennial budget, scheduled to be released on December 20, the Governor will include a total of $90 million in one-time funds to the University of Virginia’s Manning Institute for Biotechnology, Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, and  Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medicines for All Institute. The institutions will partner with the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority to collaborate on commercialization and start-up support.

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From Georgia State University:

The Director of Georgia State’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute after more than five years. In a “Fond farewell” email from Jennifer Sherer, she said. “I’ve decided to step away to build an agriculture business based on a fourth-generation family cattle ranch. I’m a believer in immersive experiences and the timing is right to experience entrepreneurship in a way I haven’t yet. ” Taking the reins on an interim basis is Dave Forquer, a lecturer in the Institute and a former Assistant Dean in the Robinson College of Business. His appointment is effective January 1 while Georgia State conducts a national search for Sherer’s successor.

From West Virginia University:

Through a $60,000 Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Expansion grant from the Benedum Foundation, a project team including West Virginia University (WVU) Extension, the WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics, and West Virginia Public Education Collaborative developed a strategic plan to support youth entrepreneurship in West Virginia, focusing on youths in sixth to 12th grades in rural communities.

Partners identified the need to develop a statewide network to move key recommendations and next steps forward. As a result, the Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (YEE) Workgroup was formed. YEE will operate in partnership with the larger West Virginia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem to foster collaboration with other adults and youth working together to expand entrepreneurial opportunities for rural youth in West Virginia. Youth engaged in the planning process are from Braxton, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mingo, and Nicholas counties.

Click here to learn more.

From the University of Arkansas Little Rock:

After almost a full year of research and collaboration, UA Little Rock, the Venture Center, and the Little Rock Regional Chamber have jointly announced the launch of the Arkansas Tech Launch Exchange Program (AR Tech Launch).

This new initiative is designed to help accelerate and build technology-based businesses in Little Rock and Central Arkansas by recruiting international entrepreneurs, providing cap-exempt H-1B visas to locate here, and provide talent development and support services to enhance success. Modeled after successful entrepreneurship programs in New York and Boston, AR Tech Launch addresses three issues critical for the state’s economic growth: (1) the difficulty of attracting qualified international entrepreneurs to the U.S. because of limited commercial H-1B visa availability; (2) the desire to attract these tech entrepreneurs to relocate and build new potential high-growth start-ups in the Little Rock region; and (3) the ability to add proven technology innovators to UA Little Rock’s faculty to help educate and train the next generation of start-up founders.

From the State of Mississippi:

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), in partnership with Jackson State University (JSU) and The University of Arizona, has been awarded a $6 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships through NSF’s inaugural Accelerating Research Translation program.

In support of this program, USM will use a systematic and data-driven approach to establish a more innovative research culture at USM. This change will foster greater translational research activities that prepare USM students for non-academic careers, accelerate access to university products and services, and strengthen Mississippi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

JSU, a fellow member of the Mississippi Research Consortium and of NSF’s Mid-South I-Corps Hub, will assist USM in establishing inclusive, entrepreneurial training programs that facilitate the transformation of USM inventions from the lab to market.

From the University of Oklahoma:

The University will  offer a one-year Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, aimed to help launch small businesses. It is a 30-credit course that will be delivered in a hybrid format with a one week in-person teaching component in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The program, which will launch in the fall semester of 2024, will welcome 25 students who have earned bachelor’s degrees in any field. Among the resources available to students enrolled in the program are the Tom Love Innovation Hub, home to an 8,000 square foot fabrication laboratory, and the Ronnie K. Irani Center for Economic Wealth, which offers consultation for students.

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