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West Virginia University was honored with the Rising Star Award in the category of The Entrepreneurial University by the Deshpande Symposium on Tuesday, June 11. From left to right are WVU representatives Nora Myers, Amy Weaver, Carrie White, Daniel Germain, Sonja Jewell Kelley. To the far right is Steven Tello, UMass Lowell Vice Provost for Innovation and Workforce Development. The eighth annual conference, held June 10 through June 12, is presented by UMass Lowell and the Deshpande Foundation. (Photo credit: Tory Wesnofske for the Deshpande Symposium)

WVU IDEA Hub wins national rising star award for entrepreneurship and innovation

The West Virginia University IDEA Hub has received national recognition for its comprehensive, University-wide efforts in entrepreneurship and innovation, an award for which it had been named a finalist in previous years.

Assistant Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Carrie White, WVU Morgantown LaunchLab Program Director Sonja Jewell Kelley, WVU Tech LaunchLab Director Nora Myers, IDEA Faculty Fellow at Potomac State College Amy Weaver and West Virginia Community Business CenterDirector Danny Germain accepted the Entrepreneurial University Rising Star Award from the Deshpande Foundation at its national entrepreneurship symposium June 11. 

“I am incredibly excited for WVU to be recognized at the national level for all the innovative work happening within the IDEA Hub and WVU,” White said. “Our goal is to infuse an entrepreneurial, innovative mindset across campus and this state to not only set up our students to be change-leaders now and in the future, but to also help build West Virginia’s economy and innovation ecosystem to the next level.” 

The Rising Star Award is presented to a university that exemplifies a strong overall commitment to fostering entrepreneurship across an institution by building innovative educational courses and programs, encouraging extra-curricular student engagement at many levels, and including the larger community in its entrepreneurial programs. 

Unanimously selected by the committee, the IDEA Hub presents an extensive repertoire of entrepreneurial opportunities for students statewide.

From the LaunchLab’s broad slate of resources to encourage small business start-up and development, to the DEMO Day showcase of student entrepreneurial ventures, the IDEA Hub ensures that students with big ideas on campus get the assistance they need to bring their plans to fruition. 

“For the past several years, the WVU IDEA Hub has been expanding with incredible energy, proving that our state is capable of becoming a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation,” Provost Joyce McConnell said. “I am delighted to see WVU recognized for work that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our entire state and economic region.” 

The WVU IDEA Hub was established in 2016 and is a University-wide network of centers, offices and programs that fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship among WVU students, faculty and staff, while engaging the statewide community.

By showcasing the vast network of resources and opportunities across the University, the IDEA Hub aims to elevate an integrated web of growth, prosperity and creativity across all disciplines, units and colleges. 

The Deshpande Foundation has encouraged the use of entrepreneurship and innovation as catalysts for sustainable change since 1996 and hosted the inaugural Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2012.

The symposium brings together academics, policy planners and practitioners to discuss best practices in integrating entrepreneurship throughout college and university communities.

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