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Community Journey

To begin the community member journey to develop and launch ideas, business ventures, inventions and innovations is the WVU Community Business Center.

Once the CBC staff assesses each individual’s needs, the community member will be directed to one or more of the units or organizations below in order to provide the best resources, expertise, physical space and/or coaching that will be critical to every stage of that community member’s startup process or business needs.

CBC Resources 

BrickStreet Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship:

The BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship aims to promote entrepreneurial  education, community engagement, and economic development in our community and state. The center conducts and supports academic and applied research that contributes to our understanding of the private enterprise system and entrepreneurship with a focus on how civil society and free-market approaches can best be used to foster entrepreneurial activity. In addition, the BrickStreet Center has partnered with public and private industries from across the state to offer “concept through operation” business services and assistance in the following categories: feasibility studies, business plans, commercialization plans, marketing studies, process reengineering and operation efficiency analysis. 

The center engages in a number of activities and programs that promote innovation and entrepreneurship including:

WV Statewide High School Business Plan Competition 

WV Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition 

Sponsorship of the WVU CEO Club (Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization) 

HSTA (Health Sciences and Technology Academy)

Business Startup & Growth Workshops (contact: Steve.Cutright@mail.wvu.edu) 

Hosting the 2019 WV Economic Development Conference

BBER (Bureau of Business & Economic Research):

The BBER does a great deal of work in helping business and community leaders understand the state’s economy. It is difficult to be successful in entrepreneurship, or in business in general, if one does not understand the broader economic context. Here is a list of services that BBER offers: economic forecasting; economic impact analysis; energy economics; regional economic analysis; education economics; industry analyses.  

CEL (Community Engagement Lab):

Within the School of Design and Community Development, the Community Engagement Lab (CEL) brings the expertise of faculty and the energy of students to solve critical problems of design. Design partnerships with the Community Engagement Lab may focus on regions, corridors, communities, sites and buildings. Through the Community Engagement Lab, faculty engage classes of students in performing a variety of participatory methods and service-learning approaches to design.

Corporate Relations:

The Corporate Relations Office is industry’s gateway to West Virginia University. We are committed to building and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships with U.S. and global businesses.By aligning WVU’s resources and world class expertise with your strategic priorities, we connect your organization with researchers who are involved in life-changing discoveries. We offer innovative academic programs that adapt to a constantly changing world and help solve some of industry’s greatest challenges. We link you to an enormous talent pool and numerous professional development opportunities to meet your human capital needs. 

JAN (Job Accommodation Network):

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free and confidential service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). JAN’s consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. We are housed at West Virginia University as part of the Center for Disability Inclusion in the College of Education and Human Services.

JAN consultants handle each inquiry on a case-by-case basis offering self-employment and small business development expertise and referrals regarding business planning, financing strategies, marketing research, disability-specific programs, income supports and benefits planning, e-commerce, independent contracting, home-based business options, and small business initiatives for disabled veterans.

JAN consultants assist with all aspects of starting and managing a small business, self-employment, and developing a non-profit organization or social enterprise. We consult with individuals with all types of disabilities including mental health impairments, arthritis, traumatic brain injuries, autism spectrum disorders, paraplegia, learning disabilities, chronic pain, cancer, vision impairments, multiple sclerosis, and respiratory impairments, as examples. JAN consultants are particularly knowledgeable about issues that may be unique to individuals with a disabilities interested in entrepreneurship such as workplace accommodations, disability specific program supports, and benefits planning.

MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership):

The West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WVMEP), housed inside Mining and Industrial Extension at West Virginia University is focused on helping West Virginia businesses improve competitiveness in both local and global markets. We accomplish this mission through delivering foundational support and innovative growth services.

Foundational support services range from manufacturing process improvement and quality systems to health and safety, energy assessments, and more. The focus of these services is to maximize your productivity and optimize the knowledge of your workforce.  Innovative growth services include innovation, product design, supply chain development, export assistance and training, and access to multiple national product and marketing opportunities. The focus of these services is to develop new products, utilize new technology, and access new national and global markets. Here’s a few in-depth details on MEP’s areas of emphasis:

Innovation/Create Sessions – Work with existing companies to generate new ideas, identify potential risks and roadblocks and the potential impacts generated by the new ideas. Once developed these ideas can be developed to assess needs to get them to market.  

Product Design – CAD, 3D Solid Modeling 

Process Design and/or Improvement – Designing, improving or updating processes for companies to be able to effectively and efficiently bring products and ideas into production.  

Process Improvement and Value Stream Mapping – Conducting process mapping and value stream mapping as well as other problem solving tools to properly identify the problems and potential areas for efficiency improvement.  

Connecting Entrepreneurs to Manufacturers – We maintain a database of all manufacturers in the state of WV, but are also able to reach out to other state MEPs to find manufacturing capabilities to fit the entrepreneur, idea, product, or company’s needs.  

MIS (Mountaineer Innovation Station):

The WVU Innovation Station provides access and training for a wide variety of modern prototyping machinery and general shop space. The facility is still in development with formal grand opening in Fall 2018 and will be open-access to all WVU students, classes, design projects and research groups  through day passes, continuing education courses, memberships, and fee-for-build options. We help people learn how to design and build their own physical prototypes, whether it's a one-off personal, class, or research project, or if it’s a product prototype. Our emphasis is on training, access, and for entrepreneur groups, getting to their first production-ready prototypes.

Here’s a bit of information on the specific training courses to be offered by the WVU Innovation Station this Fall: Introductory (2-3hr) “Don’t break you/it” basic training. Advanced (one 3hr class per week, 7-week) courses to “trained amateur” skillset. Trainings in General Shop, 3D Printing & Laser Cutting/Engraving, Manual Machining, CNC Machining, Plasma Cutting & Welding, Woodworking, etc. In regard to equipment access, the goal is to be open six days a week with year round shop access from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

OTT (Office of Technology Transfer):

WVU acknowledges the importance of developing, protecting and transferring its intellectual property (IP)in an appropriate and cost-effective manner to maximize the value of the technology for the researchers, their department and college and to the overall WVU research effort. To achieve this, the OTT has been created and will:

Provide oversight and leadership of IP management and Technology Transfer functions to ensure adherence to WVU policies.

Assist all WVU departments and centers in understanding IP and Technology Transfer policies and procedures consistent with WVU’s policies.

Provide access to legal services and work closely with Departments and Centers in promoting and licensing IP.

Take appropriate actions to protect the University’s IP.

Explain the responsibilities of protecting the IP of others through the use of Non-disclosure Agreements and other confidentiality tools.

SRF (Shared Research Facilities):

WVU Shared Research Facilities provide researchers from WVU, other academic institutions, government labs or the private sector with the opportunity to use cutting-edge instrumentation, worry free for reasonable rates. WVU has four core research facilities that consists of:

BioNano Research Facilities featuring the Q-Exactive LC-MS-MS mass spectrometer, HPLC, CD spectrometer, a variety of light microscopes and cell culture facilities; Dr. Qi Zeng, Manager

Cleanroom Facilities on both Downtown and Evansdale campuses for the fabrication of electrical and photonic devices in class 100, class 1,000, and class 10,000 spaces including photo- and e-beam lithography, wet chemical processing, metallization and deposition, reactive ion etching, thermal processing, MBE, wafer dicing and sample packaging; Mr. Harley Hart, Manager

Electron Microscopy Facilities include TEM, SEM and related instruments for the preparation of samples; Dr. Marcela Redigolo, Manager

Materials Characterization Facilities featuring XRD, XPS, Raman spectroscopy, FTIR, white light ellipsometer, AFMs, optical profiler and confocal microscope; Dr. Qiang Wang, Manager. 

Additionally, WVU Shared Research Facilities provides one-on-one or small group training for all instruments by appointment. Initial training provided to WVU PIs and their students and research staff is free. All others pay a per-hour user assistance fee. Retraining of previously trained individuals may require a user assistance fee. 

TransTech Energy:

TransTech Energy assists researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs develop partnerships important for commercialization, e.g., with strategic partners, funding sources, business mentors, prototyping and testing facilities and potential customers. Mentor researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs on making an effective investor pitch. Provide a forum for researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to pitch their start-up companies and commercializable projects to investors, technical experts, potential strategic partners, and the public.

WVU Libraries:

WVU Libraries is here to help the residents of West Virginia and beyond see their innovations come to fruition.  Librarians are available by appointment to discuss market research strategies using tools and sources available on the open web. As the only Patent & Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) in the state of West Virginia, the Evansdale Library maintains all of the tools necessary to perform a preliminary patent or trademark search including USPTO databases - PubWEST and PubEAST. Marian Armour-Gemmen, the Patent & Trademark Librarian, provides reference assistance throughout the state and teaches users how to search patent and trademark databases. WV residents are eligible for limited borrowing privileges as well as in-library access to electronic databases for a nominal annual fee.