Innovation Center set for grand opening tomorrow

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After a long construction process, the Innovation Center will open tomorrow as the first building in the Whitewater University Technology Park.

The building will serve as a nurturer for young entrepreneurs and beginning businesses.

Tours are available from 9-10:30 a.m. tomorrow. The grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. will include the presence of Chancellor Richard Telfer, City Manager Kevin Brunner, Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce Paul Jadin and U.S Economic Development Administrator Dennis Foldenauer.

Following the ceremony, a reception and showcasing of the partners will take place in the center.

The Innovation Center, including the entirety of the technology park’s infrastructure and an addition to Starin Road will cost around $11 million. A federal economic development grant helped fund $4.7 million of the construction.

Blackthorne Capital Management was made the first private employer at the Innovation Center.

“They’re the perfect fit for what we are trying to accomplish here,” Telfer said in a release.

Telfer also said he hopes businesses will find a nurturing place in the Innovation Center by helping them advance in their endeavors.

Blackthorne manages its partners to focus on research and development by employing 11 student interns and more than six faculty members.

Two additional tenants have already moved in to the center. Cooperative Educational Service Agency 2, which is Wisconsin’s largest educational service agency, was named as one of the tenants along with Jefferson Eastern Dane Interactive Network. JEDI is a virtual classroom group, which focuses on distance-learning.

With Blackthrone renting 780 square-feet in the building, an additional 12 office spaces remain open. Other partnerships are hoped to be made soon.

“Whitewater is made up of unique people …who embrace dynamic partnerships,” said Peter Layton, co-founder and principal investor of Blackthorne, in a release.