WKU’s Research Foundation celebrated the grand opening of a 1,200-square-foot space in the Center for Research and Development for Innoplexx, the WKU Student Business Accelerator, on Tuesday (Dec. 4) at the Center for Research and Development on the corner of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane.
“The student business accelerator is an incredibly important step for WKU as we seek to create an environment that facilitates commercialization and moves intellectual property into the marketplace,” said WKU President Gary Ransdell. “This is a great example of WKU setting the stage for our students to have the opportunity to implement their ideas and start a business. The main dynamic is allowing young minds to achieve their potential.”
Innoplexx gives students a place to work and network with others that are in the first phase of starting their business. The room provided was renovated to meet the needs of what students today expect out of their work space. Lining the walls are four retro style desks turned in various directions to interact with others who may stop by to work. Two large white boards are on the walls so they can brainstorm, a ping-pong table doubles as a conference table, and a large sectional couch and ottoman face a large screen TV that students can plug their laptops into and work on the large screen.
Innoplexx is a partnership between the WKU Research Foundation, the Central Region ICC (part of the Kentucky Innovation Network), Warren County, the City of Bowling Green, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bowling Green Technical College, and Innovate Kentucky.
“Building talent and leading innovation is the theme of the chamber this year,” said D. Gaines Penn, Chairman of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. “This announcement of the student business accelerator at WKU is a prime example of that theme.”
“The Student Business Accelerator is the perfect place to create thoughts or sparks into products and then into businesses,” said Dr. Julia Roberts, Director of Innovate Kentucky and Mahurin Professor and Chair of Gifted Studies. “It is truly the incubator for entrepreneurialism.”
Innoplexx is part of a statewide initiative to increase student innovation, Innovate Kentucky, funded through a grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation.
WKU is committed to partnering with the community to stimulate innovation in economic development in the region, both using and developing the talents of our students. “We are doing so many things that make us the intellectual heartbeat of Kentucky,” Dr. Ransdell said. “We are anxious to get our students engaged and see what is possible and what they can create.”