School:Louisiana Tech University

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Campus Overview

Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

Louisiana Tech University offers many opportunities for nearly 12,000 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 as 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 maker space on campus that has tools for rapid-prototyping including 3D printers, screen-printing stations, a CNC router, a laser cutter, and more. The Thingery also hosts workshops for all students to learn how to use the tools available and further their skills in design. Along with the Thingery, the Incubator helps aid students with their startups by offering every resource they could need. In addition to the makerspace, LA Tech 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 College of Business offers a Bachelor of Arts in Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship that provides many courses on different aspects of starting a business such as 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 the local community (for the past few years they have done multiple projects for MedCamps, a non-profit camp for children with disabilities). 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. For more about Louisiana Tech's I&E information, click here.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

Louisiana Tech University has many research centers on campus involving faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students that provide opportunities for developing new technologies. Encouraging innovation, establishing technological breakthroughs, and creating economic value for the region are all highly valued by the university and any opportunities to do so are encouraged. Research and economic developments of developed technologies are practiced within the College of Engineering and Science where many professors spend the bulk of their time. Here, they can lead research endeavors or run a side business (oftentimes 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. Start-ups can be created and backed through the University Technology Business Development Center by having resources that can help entrepreneurs through every step of the business process.

Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

Louisiana Tech University has many research centers on campus involving faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students that provide opportunities for developing new technologies. Encouraging innovation, establishing technological breakthroughs, and creating economic value for the region are all highly valued by the university and any opportunities to do so are encouraged. Research and economic developments of developed technologies are practiced within the College of Engineering and Science where many professors spend the bulk of their time. Here, they can lead research endeavors or run a side business (oftentimes 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. Start-ups can be created and backed through the University Technology Business Development Center by having resources that can help entrepreneurs through every step of the business process.

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 LA Tech along with industry partners to bring a wealth of economic development to the region. The centerpiece of the Enterprise Campus is Tech Point which provides space that is able to be leased to high tech companies and startups who employ students. Through the arrangement, companies have access to students who are learning the newest and best practices in their fields. This gives students the opportunity to graduate with multiple years of real-world experience and often sets them apart from other students who have only had academic experiences and summer internships. In addition to the Enterprise Campus, LA Tech 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. As well as the Enterprise Campus, Louisiana Tech also collaborates with many corporations like CenturyLink, John Deere, and NASA Stennis as well as many more. All of these partnerships enhance campus innovation and entrepreneurship which helps students build connections with companies during and after their collegiate years.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

The Innovation Enterprise at Louisiana Tech University is a hotbed of ideas, entrepreneurship, creativity, and new partnerships created through collaborations involving students, faculty, and business partners. Tech engages in local and regional economic development efforts through the Innovation Enterprise team and the Chief Innovation Office. To encourage entrepreneurship, the Technology Business Development Center helps with the process of starting, operating, and leaving an innovative business venture. Opened to the region, opportunities are held all throughout Northern Louisiana. On top of help from the community, Louisiana Tech was one of many schools in the region to receive funding from the New Louisiana Angel Fund 2, the funding will go to increasing the presence of innovation and entrepreneurship on Tech’s campus. Dr. Norris, the Chief Innovation Officer at the university has served on several statewide boards including the Louisiana Business Incubator Association, the LONI Economic Development Advisory Board, and the Louisiana Occupational Forecasting Conference, thus making him a resource for every student on campus.

Related Links

Louisiana_Tech_University_Student_Priorities

Abigail_Hildenbrand UIF Fellow 2020

Courtney_Wessels UIF Fellow 2020

Jatavion_Jackson UIF Fellow 2020

Kayley_Kraig UIF Fellow 2020

Noah_Borden UIF Fellow 2019

Lexie_Lybrand UIF Fellow 2018

Ryan_Botts UIF Fellow 2017


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