Innovation and entrepreneurship are closely related concepts. Innovation typically refers to a new method or idea about a product design, or a process for producing a product or service that creates value--technical, social or economic value, or some combination. More and more organizations desire to harness innovation or creativity to ensure their success as an enterprise. Entrepreneurship is typically associated with starting a new venture or organization. Innovation and entrepreneurship are driving forces in today's economy.
The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I4IE) serves as a hub for greater learning and knowledge, for resources and infrastructure, and for innovation and entrepreneurial activities. The I4IE serves faculty, students and staff across campus as well as others in the Kittitas Valley and Central Washington communities, including those associated with university centers. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, retired business executives (including SCORE), faculty and others with expertise form the resource base for the I4IE. The I4IE hopes to serve as a catalyst for regional economic development.
The mission of the Central Washington University Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to encourage, develop and facilitate innovative and entrepreneurial ventures through academic programs, research and community outreach.
There are four primary goals that define operations for the I4IE:
- Create an entrepreneurial network that incorporates learning and education by providing opportunities for CWU faculty, students and staff, and entrepreneurs in Central Washington;
- Pursue activities to encourage, facilitate, promote and develop innovation, small business and entrepreneurial ventures for regional economic development, including a "think tank" to assess lessons learned;
- Actively involve entrepreneurs in the College of Business and CWU (e.g., Advisory Group, student mentors, angel network, etc.)
- Create a cohesive network or core group of entrepreneurs necessary to assist and/or pursue innovative initiatives in the future
The I4IE will pursue activities and initiatives for the next 3-5 years that include:
- Business Competition Plan (linked to CWU's SOURCE program)
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship Speaker Series
- Entrepreneurs Club/Association for Students
- Student Internship Program
- Advisory Council
- Faculty Research
- Developing Profiles in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneur-in-Residence program
Connection to CWU Research foundation
There will be an effort to coordinate and facilitate incubator activities, particularly with CWU faculty. The I4IE can function as a liaison with faculty and development of commercialization of research ideas and innovations.
The I4IE received a $45,000 grant (at $15,000 for each of the next three years) from the Herbert B. Jones Foundation to develop and sustain the institute. Since 1995, the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, based in Bellevue, has promoted entrepreneurism through support for new business programs managed by post-secondary educational institutions in Washington. The initial funding focuses primarily on: student business plan competition, creating a center for entrepreneurship and developing the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.
In addition, the Patricia Galloway and Kris Nielsen Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to the Institute for program development in 2012. The Galloway and Nielsen Foundation, based at Unionville Ranch in Cle Elum, was founded in 2009 and supports original research that seeks to create innovative products and services which integrate science and engineering with management concepts. The goal is to assist scientists and engineers in developing creative and innovative ideas that improve the quality of life for all.
By connecting to successful entrepreneurs, I4IE intends to continue building a strong network of support.
Executive Director: Dr. Roy Savoian
Entrepreneur-in-Residence: Roland ("Sandy") Wheeler (CWU '74, Accounting) will serve as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence and assist with pursuing institute goals, developing an advisory group and creating a cohesive network or core group of entrepreneurs.