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Student Journey

To begin the undergraduate or graduate student journey to develop and launch ideas, business ventures, inventions or innovations is the internationally recognized WVU LaunchLab Network, with locations in Morgantown and Beckley.

Once the LaunchLab staff assesses each individual’s needs, the student 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 student’s startup process.

Student Journey 

LaunchLab Network:

The internationally recognized LaunchLab Network is a comprehensive, one-stop commercialization and proof-of-concept applied innovation center that includes locations at the Morgantown and Beckley campuses. The LaunchLab applied innovation center provides WVU students and faculty with a community-based center offering hands-on idea development support, education, mentorship, prototyping facilities, resources and connections to innovative entrepreneurs across the State of West Virginia.

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)

Support Center for Innovation & Research Commercialization

The Innovation Center strives to propel WVU’s research into licensed products and services for public benefit through the management of the University’s intellectual property portfolio. Designed to encourage innovation at WVU, we serve as a point of contact for industry partnerships and licensing. Our ultimate goal is to create successful new companies to connect to local economic development agencies and trade associations and to promote economic opportunity in greater West Virginia through the development and commercialization of WVU developed intellectual property.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic:

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic provides free transactional (non-litigation) assistance to nonprofits, small businesses, community organizations and student entrepreneurs in West Virginia. These services include venture formation and help in determining business structure.

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.

MakerLab:

MakerLab is a prototyping space for students who are interested in learning how to build a 3-D model of their innovation. Students who are LaunchLab clients can work with engineering partners to design, build and test their inventions. Students can schedule an appointment with MakerLab staff in order to be trained on all equipment use.

Media Innovation Center (MIC):

The Media Innovation Center is located on the fourth floor in the Evansdale Crossing building. It provides space, technology, curriculum and culture for building a highly collaborative community of entrepreneurs and problem solvers. The programs offered here are designed to work closely with industry and community partners to tackle the challenges presented in today's society and to incubate a next generation of media change agents. The Media Innovation Center builds on the existing spirit of invention, risk-taking and resourcefulness embedded in the culture of our college and celebrates our rural landscape as a metaphor for agile invention and resiliency.

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 maximize your productivity and optimize the knowledge of your workforce. Innovative growth services develop new products, utilize new technology, and access new national and global markets. Here’s a few in-depth details on MEP’s services that may be helpful to you.

•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.

WVU Libraries:

WVU Libraries offers a wide variety of resources and services for student-innovators at all stages of the research process. The WVUL Research Commons offers regular workshops on market research strategies (including customer segmentation and competitor analysis), intellectual property, and the patent and trademark process. Individual and group research consultations https://lib.wvu.edu/instruction/consultation/ are also available upon request. During these tailored one-on-one or small group appointments, student-innovators have an opportunity to discuss their idea and explore market research databases and other specialized resources with an information specialist. Furthermore, 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.

Young Innovators:

The WVU Davis Young Innovators Program provides students with the resources they need to turn their dream -- that big idea -- into a reality. By harnessing the knowledge and expertise of a host of faculty, WVU resources and business people throughout West Virginia and the region, we are able to provide students with a value-added, hands-on experience, as well as up to $3,000 a year, to make their idea a reality. They will create the next fashion. They will find innovative ways to solve problems. They will bring new products and ideas to the marketplace.