Small Business Incubator to provide innovation tools

By Macy Santicola, Advertising Manager
Dr. Rickard Briggs, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, has developed and will run the first business incubator at West Liberty University.

The incubator “is a collaborative workspace that fosters creativity and innovation.” “Individuals can reduce their expenses and increase their productivity by working as a group,” said Briggs. 
This will be Briggs’s fourth incubator he has set up. When he was hired last year, he discovered that West Liberty didn’t already have a collaborative workspace, so he secured grants to turn Main Hall rooms 189 and 182 into cubicles or suites along with a collaborative area. The incubator is expected to open by the end of this month after some final touches are completed on the spaces. 
“The opportunity allows individuals to effectively fail without any cost,” said Briggs. 
Briggs wants students to mitigate their risks when it comes to creating a small business or executing an idea, meaning he doesn’t want students to worry about getting it right the first time: “We want you to come in and be successful, but at the same time we’re just as happy if you fail. Arguably, you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes, so let’s do it in an environment that nurtures that failure and changes that into something positive.”
The incubator isn’t just for business students, however. The incubator can be utilized by students of all majors, faculty, and staff. The resources of the incubator isn’t limited to businesses either; the space can be used for all ideas and needs such as help with taxes, promotional videos, logo design, and one-on-one coaching among others. 
“The necessities of the students or people dictates when someone will be there,” Briggs said. The incubator has the whole campus full of talented and knowledgeable people to draw from. 
Katharine Bizanovich, a senior digital media design student, is a student administrator for the incubator.  “I’m so glad Dr. Briggs asked me to be a part of it and get people involved because it’s all about creativity and innovation,” Bizanovich said. “You never realize all the resources you’re able to use until something like this comes along and puts all these different people with different talents together.” As a photography, videographer, and graphic designer, Bizanovich will be one of the resources that can be used for no charge in order to get a person’s idea off of the ground. 
Briggs is currently taking applications in the form of a brief, two-paragraph summary of ideas, businesses or otherwise, for those that think they may want to utilize the incubator. 
Poster by Katharine Bizanovich
The applications can be submitted to Briggs directly or the business department. 
Photo Credit: Macy Santicola