WMU News

WMU role in regional development showcased

Nov. 1, 2002

NEW ORLEANS -- Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park was showcased today at the annual conference of the Association of University Research Parks in New Orleans.

Officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Kalamazoo SmartZone and the University were on hand for a conference presentation, which provided an overview of the Michigan SmartZone program, focusing in particular on the Kalamazoo SmartZone.

WMU's Business Technology and Research Park is the centerpiece of the Kalamazoo SmartZone, a partnership involving MEDC, the city of Kalamazoo, economic development agency Southwest Michigan First and the University. The 137-acre BTR Park is part of Western Michigan University's 265-acre Parkview Campus, which is also the new home for the WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, scheduled to open in fall 2003. The Southwestern Michigan Innovation Center, an incubator for start-up companies involved in pharmaceutical product development, is located on the campus next to the new engineering college complex.

"The partnership involving the University, the city, the private sector and the state has proven wonderfully successful," said Bob Miller, Western Michigan University's associate vice president for community outreach. "Already, we've won commitments from 11 partner firms, who have been attracted to the SmartZone by the prospect of collaboration with a major research university and the opportunity to take advantage of business incubator/accelerator services."

MEDC's SmartZone program was one of six selected nationally for presentations on the subject of successful research park partnerships at the New Orleans conference. MEDC officials chose to highlight the Kalamazoo SmartZone and the University's BTR Park. More information about the MEDC presentation at the conference is available online in the form of an MEDC news release.

Western Michigan University is a major partner in two of the 11 Michigan SmartZones -- in Battle Creek and in Kalamazoo. A detailed listing of the 11 SmartZones and more information about MEDC is available through the MEDC Web site at <medc.michigan.org>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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