Miami University unveils $10.7 million Innovation College@Elm business incubator

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Goal is to help new industries grow and develop workforce in southwest Ohio.

A long-anticipated and historically large-scale experiment in Miami University’s efforts to become a major player in helping entrepreneurs create new businesses in the region was unveiled Thursday evening.

Miami, Oxford city and JobsOhio Vibrant Community officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting and unveiling of its first, off-campus business incubator in a former school food services building now dubbed the Lee and Rosemary Fisher Innovation College@Elm.

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The two-story, 39,000-square-foot building at 20 South Elm Street near the College Avenue intersection has undergone $10.7 million of renovation work to prep it as Miami’s biggest foray to date in helping new industries grow and develop the workforce in southwest Ohio.

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“All of our partners and donors have been committed and engaged in creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem right here in Oxford, Ohio,” said Miami University President Gregory Crawford.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“College@Elm will demonstrate the value of infusing talented and creative people into the local entrepreneurial ecosystems and establish a model for communities like Oxford of the powerful synergies of technology and art, imagination and ingenuity that will restore the Midwest as the nation’s economic engine and advance local economies,” said Crawford of the project.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement on the innovation center, noting: “The grand opening of the College@Elm at Miami University is an example of how Ohio’s colleges and universities are not only developing talent, but they are also shaping new partnerships, new opportunities, and improved quality of life that will keep graduates here for decades.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“Our smaller and mid-sized cities, like Oxford, are a rich part of the social fabric of this state and with the expansion of the Vibrant Communities Grant Program, even the smallest villages in Ohio can better develop their communities to build a stronger economic future.” DeWine said.

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The formerly abandoned Miami building is now the new center of Miami’s joint efforts with the city of Oxford, state agencies and local industry to create a “three-block undeveloped area in Oxford’s business district into a high-tech innovation and creativity corridor,” said school officials.

Anchor tenants include The Fischer Group — a Butler County manufacturing company — 1809 Capital firm, the city of Oxford and Miami University.

The new center is named in honor of Miami graduates and long-time donors Lee and Rosemary Fisher.

Miami University has won growing statewide and national acclaim for its student and staff entrepreneurial programs, many of which are coordinated from the Farmers School of Business as well as other departments at the university.

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J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO, said “as one of the first Vibrant Community Program investments, College@Elm demonstrates how public-private partnerships can fuel innovation, build businesses and create jobs in underserved communities that have historically played a critical role in Ohio’s economic success.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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