Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship
Marshall University is located in Huntington, West Virginia. With new leadership on campus, including President Brad D. Smith, the future for innovation and entrepreneurship is bright. Marshall University would like its students to create the next Uber or Facebook, but understand that they first must teach the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and innovation. Within the last 7 years, Marshall University has created an Entrepreneurship major and minor offered through the Lewis College of Business. In 2018, Marshall University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iCenter) was created. The iCenter serves as a maker space where students, faculty, and community members are able to prototype and start their own podcasts. The iCenter has four Entrepreneurs in Residence that serve as mentors for any student at Marshall. The Brad D. Smith Incubator class, which has operated since 2021, allows students to start a business while receiving mentorship along the way. A organization on campus that helps promote entreprenuership is Delta Sigma Pi, which is a coed business fraternity that supports growth in leadership and getting hands on experience in various fields of business. At Marshall University, students have the unique opportunity to be apart of the change occurring on campus and in Huntington. While we may still be establishing our entrepreneurial and innovative efforts, we are creative and scrappy, and most importantly, we are Marshall!
Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship
In September 2019, former Intuit and Marshall alum, Brad Smith, hosted a workshop for the Lewis College of Business faculty. The faculty, although not involved in the entrepreneurship program, learned about innovation, design thinking, and inspiring their students. The faculty was given the challenge to teach their students to be more entrepreneurial and innovative despite their functional area. To support faculty innovation and entrepreneurship, Marshall University also provides access to Center for Business and Economic Research and Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research under the Marshall University Research Corporation. These centers can provide faculty with funding for their entrepreneurial pursuits and research. In addition, Marshall University faculty has access to the iCenter which provides design thinking workshops, prototyping materials, and a collaboration space. The iCenter works with departments across campus to create innovation catalysts in hopes of further spreading innovation and entrepreneurship.
Actively supporting the university technology transfer function
Each year at Marshall University, faculty, staff, and students create innovative products and services. These products and services have the potential to be profitable, and the Technology Transfer Office helps support these endeavors. The Technology Transfer Office provides a variety of services including facilitating the invention disclosure process, obtaining IP protection documents, product and service marketing, and creating connections to industry partners.
Facilitating university-industry collaboration
Marshall University is making great strides to facilitate industry-collaboration. Currently, Marshall University offers an internship program with Amazon and an apprenticeship program in manufacturing and design through the Robert C Byrd Institute. These apprenticeships are available for both engineering and business students, and allow students to work with real business and gain experience in the field. These opportunities connect students to their areas of interest and industry. In addition, the Huntington community offers students access to 3 industrial and makers’ spaces through the Robert C. Byrd Institute. Through the Office of Career Education, career fairs and expos are offered throughout the year for all students, as well as specific expos for different fields, i.e. STEM and business internship and job opportunities.
Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts
There are 3 regional sources of capital that Marshall University students can utilize. The first is the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), where students can connect with sources of funding. The second is the West Virginia Capital Access Program, which is offered by West Virginia Job Investment Trust Board and provides funding to entrepreneurs. The mission of this program is to improve the West Virginia economy through the creation of businesses. The third source of funding is StartUp West Virginia Venture, offered by TechConnectWV. StartUp West Virginia Venture funds technology innovators with the hope that they will help to advance the West Virginian economy. In addition, students seeking access to entrepreneurship and innovation mentorship can seek workshops and coaching by three different firms in Huntington. Another organization that works with the Huntington community is Coalfield Development Corporation, which strives to improve Appalachia and provides opportunities for the area and for students.