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Louisiana Tech University

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Campus Overview

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

Louisiana Tech University offers many opportunities for all of the nearly 13,000 students on campus to explore their interests in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E). To facilitate open access of I&E resources to all students the university established the Innovation Enterprise group which is independent of any college on campus and its sole focus is promoting I&E on campus and in the region. One of the most visible projects of Innovation Enterprise is the Thingery, a makerspace on campus that has tools for rapid-prototyping including 3D printers, screen-printing stations, a cnc router, and a laser cutter. The Thingery also hosts workshops for all students to teach them how to use the tools available and further their skills in design. In addition to a makerspace, LaTech hosts two idea pitch competitions and a venture championship event every year to help students present their ideas to entrepreneurs in the region and receive the training and feedback necessary to grow those ideas into startups. In the classroom, engineering students are introduced to design thinking and product development during their first years as part of the freshmen “Living with the lab” course. The business college offers a Bachelors of Arts in Management with a concentration on Entrepreneurship that provides many courses on different aspects of starting a business like business plan development and human resources management for small businesses. Both engineering students and business students, along with art students, are offered the chance to take “Innovative Product Design”, a course that takes students through the process of forming a startup within a quarter. Engineering and entrepreneurship students can then take a senior design capstone project class where they spend the year in teams taking an idea and creating a startup from that idea. Architecture students have a junior course where they design and construct an architectural structure that solves a need for a local community (for the past few years they have done multiple projects for MedCamps, a non-profit camp for children with disabilities). New to campus is a collaborative space for students with entrepreneurial projects to develop their ideas and work to make them a reality while being able to collaborate and interact with other students working towards similar goals. In addition to university sponsored I&E activities, students are starting to take leadership in progressing I&E on campus through student organizations. An innovation club was started in 2016 and in 2017 the entrepreneurship club has started an attempt to revitalize its engagement with students and grow its presence on campus.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

Louisiana Tech University has many research centers on campus that involve faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students that provide opportunities for developing new technologies. Innovation, establishing technological breakthroughs, and creating economic value for the region are all highly valued by the university and any opportunities to do this are encouraged. Specifically research and economic developments of developed technologies is practiced within the College of Engineering and Science where many professors spend a bulk of their time leading research endeavors and have side business (sometimes with their graduate students) that make use of the technologies produced during research. The university has a system in place to retain a percentage of profits from technologies and patents developed with university resources but it is not so large a percentage that faculty refrain from pursuing further development.


Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

LaTech has a technology transfer office called the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization that is an educational and management resources for faculty and students pursuing patent and licensing paths. It specifically focuses on facilitating the process of faculty assessing the commercial potential of their inventions and discoveries and then negotiating with industrial partners to get the technology developed into applications that benefit society. There is also a “Tech Transfer and Commercialization” course offered to graduate business and engineering students to educate them on the process of successfully transitioning their intellectual works from the university to the market.

Facilitating university-industry collaboration

A few years ago the university broke ground on the Enterprise Campus, a research park on campus whose goal is to utilize the intellectual and research strength of LaTech along with industry partners to bring a wealth of economic development to the region. The center piece of the Enterprise Campus is Tech Pointe, a commercial facility located between the College of Engineering and Science and the College of Business that provides leased space to high tech companies and startups who employ students. The arrangement provides companies access to students who are learning the newest and best practices in their fields while the students are able to graduate with multiple years of real world experience that sets them apart from other students who have only had academic experiences and summer internships. In addition to the Enterprise Campus, LaTech has invested in and advocated for the development of the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City (roughly 60 miles away) which is working to develop a knowledge-based workforce as well as technology research and development in the region.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

Aside from educating students who provide a major economic impact to the region both while in school and after graduating, the main vehicle through which LaTech works towards local and regional economic development is the efforts of the Innovation Enterprise team, more specifically the I-20 Corridor Business Accelerator. The I-20 Accelerator is a program under the Innovation Enterprise that is open to students and entrepreneurs in the region providing training, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help grow participants businesses. The program is free and is a great opportunity to connect with investors and entrepreneurs in the region, strengthening the community and growing the economic output of north Louisiana. 

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Fall 2017 UIFs