Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship
Marshall University is located in Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington is not new to entrepreneurship, however, it is new to inspiring entrepreneurship and innovation. Although Marshall University would like its students to create the next Uber or Facebook, it understand that it first must teach the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and innovation. Within the last 4 years, Marshall University has created an Entrepreneurship major and minor offered through the Lewis College of Business. Last year, Marshall University started a chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization and hosted the West Virginia Innovation and Business Model Competition. This year, Marshall opened the Innovating for Impact Center for Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation (iCenter) which is a collaboration and maker’s space for students, faculty, and community members. In addition, Marshall University will open the Brad D. Smith Business Incubator in 2020. 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.
Actively supporting the university technology transfer function
Each year at Marshall University, faculty, staff, and students create innovate 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 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.
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.