The University of Georgia’s role in launching and nurturing startup companies recently received a significant boost through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Program.
Being named an I-Corps site recognizes the University’s extraordinary track record of turning research discoveries into commercially viable products. For more than a decade, UGA has ranked among the nation’s top 20 public universities for licensing revenue earned from faculty inventions. And for the past three years, we’ve been ranked in the top five among all U.S. universities for the number of new research-based products reaching the marketplace.
More than 600 products based on UGA research have been introduced to the marketplace, and they range from vaccines to crop varieties and software. In addition, more than 150 startup companies based on UGA research have been launched.
The University helps young businesses grow by providing expertise, funding, equipment and lab space through its Innovation Gateway. Innovation Gateway has increased the number of startup projects in its pipeline by 40 percent in the past year alone, and its resident companies have shown tremendous promise in fields ranging from medicine to environmental remediation and agriculture.
The $500,000 I-Corps award will enable the University to support up to 30 additional startup projects a year, and it builds upon a recent $500,000 award from the U.S. Department of Commerce that will enable the creation of the University’s New Materials Innovation Center, which will provide equipment and facilities for entrepreneurs who are focused on the design and large-scale testing of materials such as advanced textiles, plastics and coating technologies.
Innovation Gateway is part of a broader and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem at UGA. Our Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, which was launched this academic year, has enrolled nearly 340 students from 10 units across campus. Over the past five years, our statewide network of 17 Small Business Development Center offices has helped clients start more than 1,600 business that have created more than 12,000 jobs.
As the state’s most comprehensive research institution, the University of Georgia is uniquely positioned to promote economic growth and vitality. Our teaching, research and service activities generate an annual economic impact of $5.25 billion—an impressive figure that we are committed to elevating to an even higher level in the coming years.