Kent State Student Entrepreneur Accelerator, the Marty Erbaugh i3 Lab Pilot Program, Launches Alongside Burton D. Morgan Foundation Entrepreneurship Suite Naming
The Kent State University Board of Trustees recently approved the naming of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation Entrepreneurship Suite, a space that includes the LaunchNET offices, the Marty Erbaugh i3 Lab and surrounding areas within the Design Innovation (DI) Hub.
Over the past five years, Burton D. Morgan Foundation has given more than $1 million in support of LaunchNET Kent State and entrepreneurship activities at the university. An additional gift from the foundation of $500,000 will provide support for venture activities within LaunchNET Kent State and the Marty Erbaugh i3 Lab, a newly constructed entrepreneurial lab housed within Kent State’s DI Hub.
The i3 Lab is a space to house student teams who will ideate, innovate and incubate their ventures through a product accelerator, which is led collaboratively by Kent State’s LaunchNET and DI programs.
Burton D. Morgan Foundation made this additional gift in 2019. With the completion of the DI Hub construction and a return to in-person campus activities, the accelerator program will be able to launch with a spring 2022 pilot.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to finally offer physical office space to our student entrepreneurs as well as combining our strengths with Design Innovation in our formal accelerator program,” said Zach Mikrut, director of LaunchNET at Kent State.
Burton D. Morgan Foundation’s generous support of the i3 lab is in honor of the late J. Martin (Marty) Erbaugh, an entrepreneur, trustee of Burton D. Morgan Foundation and longtime advisor of LaunchNET Kent State.
“Marty was a man of great integrity, kindness and generosity who enjoyed serving others, particularly those in startup ventures,” said Deborah Hoover, president and CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation. “Having built a successful business on his own, he had a passion to mentor enthusiastic and talented individuals who were motivated and courageous to strike out on their own. He was a great mentor and a high achiever.”
The foundation of the i3 Lab is built on a combination of LaunchNET’s start-up support and DI’s expertise in prototyping and equipment. This semester, the i3 Lab’s pilot will kick off with five student teams. These teams will progress their ventures through use of exclusive private offices and work spaces tailored to each teams’ needs, mentoring on defining their business model, pitch practice and additional speakers/mentorship to inspire and advise their next steps. The five teams participating in the i3 Lab pilot program are:
Flashmates - a company that is building products to make it easier for students to find housing/roommates and manage finances/expenses while in college. Flashmates is currently active in six universities across three states.
Innovasive - this team is exploring sustainable reactive fabrics developed from invasive plants to reduce harmful textile waste and environmental issues. Innovasive’s goal is to integrate as many elements of invasive species into the fabric as impossible.
Degen-Capital.eth - a cryptocurrency podcast featuring weekly topics on web 3.0, NFT’s, market analysis and more.
Leo’s Beauty - an astrological and spirituality inspired beauty brand. Leo’s Beauty strives to help young women through their healing and self-love journey with high vibrational beauty products such as handmade crystal infused lip glosses, crystal infused skin care products and a signature zodiac lash collection.
Poly CB - a polymer-based, flexible circuit board. This product will be applicable in the fashion industry, sports technology and many other fields.
“We are thankful to Burton D. Morgan Foundation for its support of interdisciplinary collaboration and venture creation at Kent State,” says J.R. Campbell, executive director of the Design Innovation Initiative at Kent State. “We look forward to launching this innovative opportunity within the Design Innovation Hub.”
LaunchNET Kent State is a co-curricular, cross-campus program that serves students, alumni, staff and faculty to promote entrepreneurial thinking, innovative mindset, creative collaboration and venture creation through advising, events and connections to the greater Northeast Ohio community.
Design Innovation (DI) at Kent State is a university-wide initiative with representation across the eight-campus system. DI at Kent State is a dynamic continuum of spaces, events and people dedicated to ideas, innovation and creation through interdisciplinary collaboration. It’s a meeting of bright minds and dynamic people seeking challenges and solving real world problems.