Aug 11, 2006    #130
Contact: Nick Barron

Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation becomes a Missouri Innovation Center

Greg Steinhoff, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, announced today that the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (IEI) has been designated a Missouri Innovation Center, clearing the way for increased public-private cooperation in technology transfer for the Kansas City area.

In a ceremony attended by community leaders Henry Bloch, Irv Hockaday, Peggy Dunn, State Sen. Yvonne Wilson, and others, Steinhoff and UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey both proclaimed today a great step forward for Kansas City. The designation comes with $150,000 from the Department of Economic Development and it will cultivate an entrepreneurial environment by joining the University, the state, the community and global resources to:

∙ create innovative methods for identifying technology transfer and other commercialization opportunities.

∙ deliver the precise resources needed by new and existing businesses to drive business growth.

"This is an exciting time for the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We are pleased they have accepted the challenge to become a new Innovation Center,” Greg Steinhoff, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said. “Innovation and technology are driving today’s economy, creating high-wage jobs with highly skilled workers that are important to our state's future.”

Joining the festivities was Jason Curry, an entrepreneur who has been aided by IEI in marketing a device that allows for face-to-face communication between deaf and hearing people.

Curry is president of sComm, Inc., which was founded after both he and his father had become frustrated with their inability to communicate in person. They developed a portable, wireless product, titled the UbiDuo, which allows for face-to-face communication between deaf and hearing people similar to instant messaging. sComm was one of many local companies who took part in IEI’s New Venture Challenge Competition last spring, which gave Bloch graduate students the opportunity to fully assess an intellectual property’s market potential and develop a business plan around the concept and product.

The team representing sComm and UbiDuo took second place at the competition and sComm won the Governor’s Technology Company of the Year Award for 2006. IEI and its umbrella organizations, such as the Small Business and Technology Development Center, have worked closely with sComm to secure funding for the creation of UbiDuo, including grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling $1.4 million.

The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Bloch School provides an educational experience that combines the best in academic programs with exciting entrepreneurial experiences, connecting students to business leaders and scholars, and providing hands-on experiences in visualizing and designing new enterprises.

The Bloch School is Kansas City’s only institution that is fully accredited in both business and public administration by prestigious, international accrediting bodies that set rigorous standards for their member institutions to maintain. In business, the Bloch School is accredited by AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International, which accredits only eight percent of the business schools in the world. In public administration, the Bloch School’s public affairs program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban affairs.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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