Just three months after opening its doors, the University of Southern Mississippi’s unique business incubator – called The Accelerator – is operating in high gear.
Officially labeled The National Materials Science Innovation and Commercialization Accelerator, the new venture became the first facility to open in The Garden, the university’s Innovation and Commercialization Park, back in March of this year. At 60,000 square feet, The Accelerator provides state-of-the art space, technology and professional advice for start-up companies.
Sunny Corral, executive director of The Accelerator, said the incubator’s fast-paced start represents an encouraging sign to the business climate in South Mississippi. “Despite the current economy, after only three months of operation, The Accelerator’s incubator space is at more than 60 percent capacity,” said Corral. “This clearly indicates that the need to connect early-stage science companies with resources existed in Hattiesburg and in Mississippi.”
Corral notes that The Accelerator was designed to enable companies with the ability to create, refine and produce first product sales, all within one building.
The Accelerator’s concept foundation is formulation science with the National Formulation Science Lab serving as the prime component. The unique facility also houses the Mississippi Polymer Institute which provides rapid prototyping, valuable analytical and physical testing capabilities, scale-up assistance and polymer processing expertise. Additionally, Noetic Technologies, with experience in taking hundreds of new products to market worldwide across a variety of industries, helps put all the pieces together to form a well-rounded venture-ready plan with tenants.
The model for the Accelerator is organized in three stages:
• Trained staff begins with a promising technology and runs it through the high-output screening process in the National Formulation Science Lab. Data is then examined for a particular response.
• That technology is relayed into laboratories within the facility, refined and tweaked to suit the product’s specifications.
• Once the formulation is finalized, it is transferred to the pilot facilities where it is scaled up to commercial production levels, which allows customer sampling and potential first product sales
Don Landy, vice-president of Crosslink, USA, readily acknowledges the benefits of being an Accelerator tenant. “The shared facilities, equipment and expertise located at The Accelerator and Southern Miss meets needs that early stage companies cannot afford on their own,” said Landy. “The university has done an excellent job in creating an environment complete with all the necessary elements that tech-based start-up companies need to grow.”
Crosslink, Ablitech Inc. and KDL Solutions became The Accelerators first tenants on March 1 of this year.
Corral said The Accelerator is strategically positioned to provide fledging companies a blueprint for success in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
“If there is an opportunity to enhance a material’s performance, The University of Southern Mississippi is the place to do it, and The Accelerator is the facility that will equip industrial partners and early-stage companies with the tools required to do so,” said Corral.
For more information about The Accelerator contact Corral at 601-266-5116 or 601-266-5515.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.