Eau Claire (WQOW) - A center for tiny technology hopes to have a bigger appeal to businesses.
Thursday night, a presentation was made to CVTC’s board of directors. The college is proposing to make changes to its NanoRite Center to make it more attractive for potential businesses to use.
"We built the center in 2007 and it was solely meant for incubation of new and emerging business," says Tom Huffcutt, CVTC Vice President of Operations.
Now, the NanoRite Center at CVTC has expanded to include more than just nanotechnology.
"What we found is NanoRite can be fairly restrictive in people’s minds," says Huffcutt. "We’re committed to nanotechnology companies or tenants, but more than that we’d like to attract any technology-based company."
Besides being a place for start-up businesses to grow, CVTC wants to add a data center and give businesses a chance to use its technology.
"Stuff that’s used in our programs, machine tool program, welding program, things like that, but might be of interest to folks that have a good business idea, but don’t have access to the capitol equipment to get that off the ground," says Huffcutt.
The college hopes those changes will help draw more businesses to the center.
"Currently we’re about two-thirds occupied, maybe even a little higher than that around 70 percent, which is not bad for an incubation center," says Huffcutt. "However, we depend on prospects to be in the pipeline to fill in spaces as other tenants move on. And there aren’t as many prospects as there may have been four or five years ago when we started."
Before the proposal can go ahead, the college needs approval from the board of directors and state technical college system. CVTC’s board could vote on the proposal next week.
Eau Claire (Press Release) – Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) is proud to announce that it is broadening the scope of the NanoRite Innovation Center. NanoRite will continue to be an incubation center for start-up companies in Western Wisconsin within the nanotechnology sector, but because of growth of bio, industrial, and manufacturing technology in the area, CVTC wants to also provide these type of start-up companies a facility to cultivate their ideas.
CVTC will also be adding an on-site data center, allowing NanoRite to expand the bandwidth to the tenants through the Chippewa Valley Inter Networking Consortium (CINC). This data center will also serve as a disaster recovery site for WiscNet, Wisconsin’s research and education network, be a data center location for the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and allow CVTC to move its data center, which is now located at on off-site location.
"We want to make adjustments because there is a demand that needs to be filled. These changes will benefit both the current tenants and future prospects," stated Bruce Barker, CVTC President. "We feel that with the proposed changes, many more local entities will benefit from the space. Plus, CVTC is answering industry needs by introducing three new program choices in engineering technology, and adding these programs reflects that growth in the biotechnology sector."
NanoRite will continue to be committed to economic development in Western Wisconsin. Recently added tenants, Super Vitamin D and Fiberstar Bio, looked to NanoRite as a place to help grow their companies. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will also be adding a second office space to support job growth in Western Wisconsin.
Ted Schwarzrock, president and chief operating officer of Super Vitamin D, was thrilled when he found NanoRite through the EDC. “NanoRite had a wet lab and was a perfect fit for our needs. It would have taken us about 120 days and $150,000 to create that same space, and we were lucky enough to get into NanoRite quickly and continue our testing without any delay.” Super Vitamin D is a company producing a transdermal patch for Vitamin D.
Brock Lundberg, the owner of Fiberstar Bio, a company that creates value added ingredients from natural plant materials, was impressed by the facility from the first time he toured it. “It’s a first-class facility with a reasonable rate. I’m proud to bring my customers and vendors to my office as it’s a beautiful place to work. Plus I have access to labs and various equipment to keep my research moving forward.”
NanoRite opened in July 2007 as an incubation center built to meet the growing needs for micro- and nanotechnology and entrepreneurial activity and to meet the needs of the job growth in the high- technology sector. Since opening, there has been great competition for small business incubation growth.
CVTC delivers innovative and applied education that supports the workforce needs of the region, improves the lives of students, and adds value to our communities. Campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west central Wisconsin. CVTC is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.