Friday, October 21, 2011
I2B to helps Oakland entrepreneurs launch new venturesStudents, faculty and staff at Oakland University and Cooley Law School are gaining access to support and expertise they need to move ideas for new businesses, products and services from inspiration to implementation.
Created through a partnership between the schools of Business Administration (SBA), Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) and OU INC, OU's SmartZone business incubator, the Ideas to Business (I2B) lab teams students from a variety of academic backgrounds - business, technology, engineering, law and more with business professionals who serve as advisors. This Team Resource Group (TRG) counsels and assists entrepreneurs in crafting a business plan and pilot study.
The I2B initiative also provides resources including office equipment, meeting space, product testing support and access to a broad network of business professionals.
Wayne Blizman, I2B coordinator, noted that a National Business Incubation Association study reports that 87 percent of incubator startups are still in business after 10 years, compared to a survival rate of only 44 percent of non-participants after four years in business.
"This program allows the person to take his or her idea from the dream stage to reality," he explained. "It will increase the odds a new business will become a sustainable, contributing member of a strong economic community."
The initiative also promotes the value of collaboration in nurturing new business ventures.
"Using different types of students to share what they are learning is really the value of this type of program in a university," said Sandra Cochrane, technology business coordinator for Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center in Kalamazoo.
"It's a great way to translate theory into practice. What a great opportunity for students and faculty to get in there to test what it says in a book and what happens in reality."
Entrepreneurial ventures can "graduate" from I2B and subsequently house their business at OU INC, which helps minimize start-up expenses, leverage shared costs and form a network with fellow entrepreneurs.
"One OU INC core mission is to accelerate ideas to market, and to help entrepreneurs be successful by giving them a safe place to grow, and where they can learn side by side with other budding entrepreneurs," said Amy Butler added.
"This program prepares them to launch the business or product, and we help them get there. It's a great partnership and we are excited about the program."
To celebrate I2B and offer those interested an opportunity to learn more about this new initiative, OU will host a grand opening at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at OU INC in the Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion. For more information, visit oakland.edu/i2b or contact Blizman at (248) 370-4091 or email@example.com.