Tuesday, April 18, 2006
OU INC celebrates grand opening
|Jadi Inc., one of the first tenants of Oakland University's business incubator, demonstrates one of its unmanned robots during OU INC's grand opening.|
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
As part of Oakland University’s Founders’ Day celebration April 18, the university officially opened OU INC, a SmartZone business incubator located on campus in Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion.
The OU INCubator is collaborating with Automation Alley, the Great Lakes Interchange, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Oakland County and the City of Rochester Hills to provide business services, counseling, mentoring, pre-seed funding, training and business development to start-up businesses. OU INCubator businesses have access to a network of OU resources including faculty, students and research centers.
“We want to make this the place where new business will come to learn, grow and prosper. Entrepreneurs can establish their business, thanks to a unique infrastructure that will help them succeed,” said David Spencer, director of OU INC. “OU INCubator members can come here, set up shop and discover what it takes to effectively start up a new business. Member services include applied research and development, business and marketing planning, assistance with loan and grant proposals, and assistance with financing and capital acquisition.”
OU INC also offers tenants mentors and a networking support group. The OU INC staff, on-site business owners, OU faculty and students, and a board of advisers will work with members to help businesses thrive.
After a three- to four-year incubation period, the businesses will graduate from OU INC and move on to their own offices with the solid foundation they received from the incubator.
“We’ve all heard the alarming statistics of the number of businesses that fail within their first five years — some put the number at 50 to 60 percent. Our mission is to make sure OU INCubator businesses are not one of these statistics,” Spencer said.
Cindy Douglas from the Michigan Economic Development Council; Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley and deputy Oakland County executive; and Bryan Barnett, OU alumnus and mayor of the City of Rochester Hills, joined Spencer and OU President Gary Russi for the formal opening.
“We’re in the business of technology,” said Rogers of Oakland County, adding the region is being branded for excellence in technology and OU INC is going to help continue to grow the reputation.
OU INC intends to increase partnerships, including with the city of Auburn Hills, and continue to expand the services provided to businesses within the incubator.
“OU INC and our partners are helping business succeed. We are making an impact on the economy of Oakland County and the state of Michigan,” Russi said. “As we help our communities build thriving, sustainable businesses, we are creating jobs and a strong economy.”
Russi was joined on stage by an invention of one of OU INC’s first tenants, Jadi Inc., which specializes in unmanned robotic systems. A robot rolled through the audience and onto the stage to demonstrate the type of development taking place at OU INC.
Russi concluded the grand opening by reading a special tribute from Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Mike Bishop, congratulating Oakland on developing OU INC and helping to stimulate the technology development in the state.
Founders’ Day activities also included the 11th Annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms to honor faculty whose teaching and research excellence, scholarly productivity, creative achievements and community service have contributed to the university’s success.
Founders' Day honors the memory of benefactors Alfred and Matilda Dodge Wilson, who donated 1,500 acres and $2 million to establish the university in 1957.
For more information on OU INC, visit the OU INCubator Web site or call (248) 364-6194.