NC State Launches “Springboard” to Job Creation
North Carolina State University has promised by 2012 to double the number of startup companies it launches each year, creating much-needed jobs for workers statewide. NC State’s new innovation “hub,” called the Springboard Innovation Partnership Portal, will play a key role in achieving this goal by facilitating business partnerships and speeding up the pipeline through which research becomes reality.
In a recession, the key to economic recovery is job creation. Companies that are less than six years old provide the bulk of new jobs – in 2007 they accounted for 64 percent of them. NC State has traditionally been a leader in job creation for North Carolinians, with about 700 U.S. patents owned and managed by the university and more than 70 start-up companies launched based on discoveries by faculty, staff and students.
“I learned very quickly that one of NC State’s strengths is supporting the state’s economic vitality,” says Chancellor Randy Woodson. “One of the most obvious aspects of that work is the university’s ability to get research into ‘the real world’ where it creates new jobs. But in today’s economic climate, it’s more important than ever that we move this process along as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is something we do well, but we can be even better.”
The aim of the Springboard portal is to create a “one-stop shop” for researchers who want to find collaborators or market their inventions, businesses looking for creative solutions, and faculty, staff, and students who want entrepreneurial training. According to Dr. Terri Lomax, vice chancellor of research and innovation, Springboard will play a vital role in helping NC State support the NC economy.
Lomax says the university’s small business incubator, Office of Technology Transfer, Entrepreneurship Initiative, Industrial Extension Service, Center for Innovation Management Studies, and other similar units on campus provide valuable services to faculty, students and external partners but could create even more impact with increased coordination.
“Springboard gives us a way to more readily connect people, ideas and resources,” she says. “Our goals are to double the number of startup companies that we launch by 2012, increase sponsored research by 50 percent by 2015, and transform the ‘innovation experience’ at NC State.” Lomax also emphasized that “Springboard will continue the NC State tradition of providing creative solutions to society’s most pressing problems.”
As a further way to enhance innovation and speed the pipeline, Woodson has pledged $2.5 million over five years in a special Chancellor’s Innovation Fund designed to help researchers bridge the monetary gap that may prevent them from getting their ideas to market.
The NC State Springboard innovation portal can be found online at www.springboard.ncsu.edu, or be reached by phone at 919/513-4289.