Community Outreach, Annual Report

Page 6

Goal 1 | Locating our networks Objective | Locating networks in physical space

Impressive market potential for mixed-use incubator When an international consultancy with over 20 years of experience states that it is impressed with a proposed community-university project, it is time to get excited. And, indeed, excitement is growing around a proposal to develop a mixed-use business incubator in Kalamazoo. While the logistics of incubator—including its location and tenant profile—have yet to be articulated, a recent feasibility report authored by the Greenwood Consulting Group documents that Kalamazoo residents very much desire an incubator and that the market very much could use an incubator. Jim Greenwood, president, reported “We cannot recall a prior project in which we were as impressed with the market potential as we are for the proposed Kalamazoo mixed-use business incubator.” Western Michigan University is teaming up with the City of Kalamazoo, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and several other key partners to help realize this potential. To date, WMU’s Office of Community Outreach, the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Innovation Center (located in the WMU Business Technology and Research Park), as well as the Small Business Development Center and WMU Starting Gate (both hosted by the Haworth 4

College of Business) have signed on to be resources for the proposed Kalamazoo mixeduse business incubator. Additionally, the State of Michigan Small Business Development Center office and LISC have both pledged financial support to increase the capacity of WMU to be a resource for the potential start-up companies that would be located in the incubator. Faculty from the WMU Haworth College of Business have already published research on the project. “This is another example of faculty, staff, and students coming together in support of a community-based project in a mutually beneficial way,” said Bob Miller, WMU associate vice pesident for Community Outreach. With the feasibility study completed, the proposal now moves into its second phase, which involves a site and space survey—all the more cause for excitement. Learn more: