| Follow Us:

Bowling Green State University : Innovation + Job News

5 Bowling Green State University Articles | Page:

rocket ventures brings technology networking event to bowling green

A crowd eager to learn about entrepreneurial opportunities in Northwest Ohio flooded Olscamp Hall at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) on March 7th for the TechConnect event organized by the nonprofit organization Rocket Ventures.
The crowd of 200-plus acolytes gathered to brainstorm, network and hear a keynote address by BGSU’s new president, Mary Ellen Mazey. Dr. Mazey was formerly Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Auburn University in Alabama, which houses the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship.
Dan Slifko, President and Director of Rocket Ventures, was enthused about the potential of TechConnect events to help business ventures come to life. “The whole idea is to connect minds, motivation, and money in the same room,” he says. “We want to help connect ideas with people who can help make them happen.”
Rocket Ventures, LLC is an entrepreneurial support organization and venture capital firm serving Northwest Ohio. Through events, funding and mentorship, the group brings together the necessary partners to help startups become successful. Specifically, the group provides pre-seed funding for tech-based companies.
TechConnect events take place quarterly and typically draw large crowds, suggesting the value of such networking opportunities as well as the growing entrepreneurial community that exists across the four corners of Ohio.
The TechConnect message will continue to spread across Northwest Ohio, with the next event scheduled for June in Findlay. Meanwhile, Rocket Ventures is doing its part to connect money, minds and motivation. The organization recently invested $300,000 in the startup InnerApps LLC, creator of the Identity Syncronizer platform for user security, password synchronization and access management.

Source: Dan Slifko
Writer: Mona Bronson-Fuqua

Ag incubator helps entrepreneurs grow

"This is so yummy you ought to sell it" has warmed many a home cook's heart. And for more than 10 years, Ohioans with recipes and dreams have been using the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen in Bowling Green to launch their businesses.

NOCK was established by the Agricultural Incubator Foundation as a place where regional residents can access a professional-grade facility. A catering kitchen opened first, followed by a cannery in 2005 and blanching/freezing space in 2010. Many jars of barbecue sauce, boxes of chocolates and so on have rolled out of NOCK's doors over the years.

Early "graduates" have been so successful their products were sold at major retailers and at numerous regional markets. Today, 27 entrepreneurs are renting the NOCK resources for production, says manager Paula Ray.

Requirements include a deposit fee, insurance, a business plan and approval of the Agricultural Incubator Foundation board of trustees. Once approved, tenants must sign a lease, participate in an orientation and training program and agree to schedule their time.

The non-profit Foundation was formed by a group of Ohio farmers, people involved in agribusiness, educators and researchers to nurture "the development, advancement and appreciation of agricultural systems in Northwest Ohio that are economically, ecologically and socially sustainable," it states on its website.

Besides NOCK, the Foundation makes available meeting space, organic farmland, greenhouses, and a fish farm. Bowling Green State University, the Ohio State University Extension, and the Toledo-based Center for Innovative Food Technology are among Foundation supporters.

Source: Paula Ray, Agricultural Incubator Foundation/NOCK
Writer: Gabriella Jacobs

U of Toledo, Dow Corning, await word on $46-million solar development grant

Ohio's status as a leader in photovoltaics could shine brighter should a $46 million US Department of Energy grant come through.

The $46 million grant, expected to be announced by early 2011, would be shared between the University of Toledo and Dow Corning Corp. Earlier this year, two paired to form the Solar Valley Research Enterprise (SVRE), which submitted the grant application to the DOE with wide support from the two states' governors, Congressional rosters and private industry.

The grant would be part of $125 million in funds available though the DOE's Photovoltaics Manufacturing Initiative, which seeks to establish three national centers of expertise in the field by 2015.

Split evenly between the SVRE partners, half of the funds would be used to establish the Photovoltaics Manufacturing Initiative Center on the Toledo campus, separate from the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization based there, but working in conjunction with it.

The Wright Center was created in 2007 and supports research and test locations located at the University of Toledo, Ohio State University and Bowling Green State University.

"I tell people the SVRE would be like the Wright Center on steroids," says Rick Stansley, co-director of the Wright Center and chairman of the UT Board of Trustees.

He estimates a direct impact of 800 jobs added to the area, and an indirect impact six or seven times as large.

The partnership has already received grants from both Ohio and Michigan, including a $3.5 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier. Along with the Ohio "node" of the SVRE, Stansley said the grant money would be used to set up a similar center in Midland, Mich., near the corporate headquarters of Dow.

Both sites would work with a cluster of private companies, government labs and universities to further solar cell development, making it more competitive with traditional energy sources. The centers would also help guide new solar panel start-ups in the northwest Ohio-southern Michigan area.

Source: Rick Stansley, Wright Center for Photovoltaics
Writer: Dave Malaska

Plum Brook runway could create 2,000 jobs in Ohio aerospace industry

The NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky already is a big deal when it comes to testing satellite components before launch. It could become an even bigger deal if the federal government agrees to provide $60 million in stimulus money to fund roads and a 9,000-foot runway there.

The new landing strip is proposed as a way to give satellite and aerospace companies better access to Plum Brook's space chamber, a 100-foot wide, 122-foot high facility that mimics the vacuum and cold temperatures of space. But proponents say the runway would have lasting economic benefits for the entire northeast Ohio region by enticing aerospace companies to set down roots there.

For every NASA job created by the runway, an estimated five non-NASA jobs would be created -- nearly 2,000 in all, according to an economic impact study conducted last year by Bowling Green State University's Center for Regional Development. And that doesn't count almost 800 temporary construction jobs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is now considering Ohio's application for $60 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery money. Submitted by the Ohio Department of Transportation at the request of the Erie County Board of Commissioners, that total represents $31 million for the runway and $29 million for road improvements, says David Stringer, Plum Brook's director.

The runway is needed, Stringer says, to allow soft, slow landings of sensitive instruments aboard large aircraft.

"If you don't 'gentle' satellites in and out, they can break," Stringer says.

Currently, instruments destined for Plum Brook have come via airports in Mansfield and Cleveland. But those instruments have been of a more rugged variety, Stringer says -- for example, the air bags that bounced across the Mars landscape before releasing rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

A new runway would allow fragile components like optics to be tested in Ohio prior to launch -- a vital concern for sensitive systems like the Hubble Space Telescope.

Source: David Stringer, NASA, and Bowling Green State University
Writer: Gene Monteith

UT has both feet planted as it helps build solar industry cluster

Arising from expertise within the glass industry and the abundance of cheap natural gas needed to melt silica for solar modules, the Toledo area has long been recognized for incubating advanced and alternative energy players.

In the thick of things has been the University of Toledo. So, it's only fitting that when it came time for the State of Ohio to establish a new Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization (PVIC), UT was a logical choice.

PVIC was founded in January 2007 with $18.6 million in Ohio Third Frontier funding and matching contributions of $30 million from federal agencies and university and industrial partners. The center -- which also has hubs Ohio State University, and Bowling Green State University -- has become a state of the art laboratory with three purposes, says Robert Collins, professor of physics and co-director of the PVIC: to help new companies commercialize their products, to help existing companies improve their products and expand product lines, and to build a large solar cluster in northwest Ohio.

The PVIC serves as both a testing ground for new applications and a resource for commercialization of those techniques. The center is now working with 30 companies from around the country -- including a start-up from Silicon Valley, Collins says.

The center has led the way in development of new thin-film technologies that can be produced more quickly and less expensively than traditional solar films. Meanwhile, UT is working on next-generation films using nanostructures, recently hiring two experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to lead the work.

Source: Robert Collins, University of Toledo
Writer: Gene Monteith

5 Bowling Green State University Articles | Page:
Share this page