Cincinnati Business Courier highlights Venture Lab-backed startup Band Connect
UC, Cincinnati Innovation District® enhance talent opportunities with wider collaborative outreach
The University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub, positioned within the heart of the Cincinnati Innovation District® (CID), paints a bright new picture of collaborative growth after broadening their reach and attracting talent from across state borders.
UC’s Venture Lab startup accelerator at the 1819 Innovation Hub graduated 10 new startup teams on March 9, one of which hails from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) — a key indicator that the CID is embracing a wider reach for talent in the region.
NKU joins other local universities also selecting teams to join the UC Venture Lab program including Xavier University, University of Dayton, Wright State University and Cincinnati State, all representing novel talent from around the region.
“As a major research university, the University of Cincinnati is delighted to be a boundary spanner that sparks innovation across our region,” says UC President Neville G. Pinto. “This kind of collaboration is a win-win for our Tri-state community and builds momentum for even greater impact.”
New institutional partnerships not only increase the talent and resource availability across the region but also help nurture new locally based enterprise.
“The Cincinnati Innovation District and the University of Cincinnati’s commitment to empowering our region on both sides of the river, is a shared passion between us,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “This is an excellent example of regional collaboration that uplifts entrepreneurship and innovation to new heights. I am pleased that we can leverage our collective talent and resources to further accelerate economic growth and catalyze a more prosperous and equitable ecosystem for the region.”
As part of the Venture Lab’s latest cohort — graduating 10 new startup teams on the afternoon of March 9 — novel business ideas are not only reaching beyond UC, but are proving to make an impact on equity and inclusion issues that currently affect so many people. The impact of both Innovation and equity and inclusion are strong tenets of UC’s Next Lives Here strategic direction.
One such collaborative initiative connects college students who have become housing insecure to available living accommodations, food and clothing. Inspired by a top-grade student who lost financing and housing in her junior year, UC associate professor of history Holly McGee took advantage of the virtual collaborative format to extend her “Pathways to Success” project beyond UC. Teaming with faculty at Xavier University and Cincinnati State gives McGee the opportunity to work closely for this unique housing niche with both the county and the state. Their multi-collaborative efforts help to not only serve a wider population but also to become a successful model for other institutions.
Reaching even wider, the Venture Lab startup out of nearby Northern Kentucky University (NKU) takes a broad regional collaboration one step further.