New fund created for JMU donors to support university innovation
By Eric Gorton ('86,'09 M)
James Madison University is seeking support for an innovative micro-incubator program to launch viable startup companies with products invented by JMU faculty, staff and students.
The program is administered by the Office of Technology Transfer and the Center for Entrepreneurship. James Madison Innovations, Inc., will use the new fund to seed startup companies. JMI is a nonprofit corporation established in 2009 to transfer intellectual property produced at JMU into the commercial sector.
The fund has an initial goal of $500,000, said Mary Lou Bourne, JMU's director of technology transfer and executive director of JMI. Contributions to the JMI Startup Fund are made as gifts to the university through the JMU Foundation and are tax-deductible.
JMI has already provided seed money, marketing and management support to launch a company this year, Collegiate Strength Innovations. CSI has three products invented by JMU strength and conditioning coaches and a business plan created by students in a venture creation class. Students and recent graduates also helped create the company website and other marketing materials.
JMI is launching the startups to build their value and prove their marketability before shopping them to other companies or entrepreneurs who can grow the companies.
Donations to the startup fund can be made online.