UTPB CEED Incubator to Open Next Spring in Midland
22 Dec 2020
The Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) have partnered to bring the CEED Incubator to the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification building on UTPB’s Midland campus. The incubator will be a hub of entrepreneurism and innovation, with entrepreneurs having access to a dynamic combination of support offered by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and UTPB. Under one roof, entrepreneurs can find free business consulting and support, educational seminars, networking events, and the University’s technology and tools. The impact on the local business community will be enormous.
“Imagine getting help with your business plan, securing funding, and also being able to use the technologies at the Advanced Manufacturing Center or Biomedical Research Center at UTPB. When combined with the incubator’s office space, networking and mentoring opportunities, Midland’s entrepreneurs will have everything they need to launch their ideas and grow their businesses,” said John Trischitti, Executive Director of the MDC.
Supporting local entrepreneurs has already had a significant impact on the region’s economy. Midland has been recognized as one of the best locations for entrepreneurs in the entire United States, and one of the reasons is the access to resources and support. The SBDC supported 811 local businesses in 2019 - 2020, resulting in over $28 million of capital formation and the creation of 263 new jobs. Now, the support the SBDC provides will be enhanced by additional UTPB resources and an incubator that will facilitate collaborative relationships between entrepreneurs and existing companies. This ecosystem is designed to expand and amplify the economic impact of Midland’s small businesses. Tatum Hubbard of UTPB said, “UT Permian Basin’s leadership will allow cross-pollination of ideas. The physical space provides opportunities for the scientists, the creatives, the managers, essentially all the entrepreneurs of the Permian Basin, to interact and leverage their talents together for major steps forward for business and community development.”
Investing in the UTPB CEED Incubator
The MDC has committed $2 million to remodel the UTPB Center for Energy and Economic Diversification in Midland in order to establish the UTPB CEED incubator. For MDC, this investment represents a continued commitment to Midland’s small businesses and to diversifying the local economy. In addition to committing funds for the remodel, the MDC has pledged $5 million to pay for staffing costs, up to $200,000 per year for 25 years. This will ensure that the incubator can continue serving Midland’s entrepreneurs well into the future. “The MDC is tasked with diversifying and growing Midland’s economy. We know that by supporting entrepreneurs and investing in initiatives like UTPB’s CEED incubator and the Spaceport Business Park we can create a more robust economy in Midland,” said Trischitti.
The UTPB Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) is uniquely positioned to enhance economic development initiatives in the region. From starting a business and providing business space to providing lab services to spur business growth, the staff at the OIC is positioned to assist the community. The UTPB OIC will be located closer to the Midland industrial hub as well as to the airport, which will provide easy access to resources, including physical, technical, and intellectual resources. Locating these related services in a central space between the two largest communities in the Permian Basin improves access to the technological tools and industry connections that are necessary for entrepreneurial innovation
in the modern age. Beyond the vast support already offered by the SBDC, services offered by the incubator will include: fabrication and testing of prototypes, computational modeling, design, simulation, and analysis of various systems, evaluation of produced water treatment technologies, data analysis, material testing and characterization, Advanced Manufacturing Certification, and Produced Water Management Certification.
With over 30,000 square feet of space, the incubator will offer an ideal environment for businesses to collaborate with technological resources and researchers. “The MDC Business Incubator plays a vital role as the entry point to the Applied Research Technology Partnership for start-up companies working to develop emerging technologies in various fields. Ultimately, a more diversified economic base in the Permian Basin will improve the quality of life by smoothing out the volatility in the local economy and providing more high paying career opportunities. These initiatives will attract and support new start-up businesses in the areas for wind and solar energy, aerospace and biomedical industry, and water technology development,” said Hubbard. Construction is set to begin early 2021 and Hubbard anticipates occupancy in the fall. UTPB has also begun their search for an executive director to lead the incubator, a position necessary for bringing all of the stakeholders together and ensuring alignment with their strategic vision for the space. The SBDC will also continue to play an important role.
UTPB President, Dr. Sandra Woodley told the MDC, “The Small Business Development Center… has been in the CEED building for a long time and has done well.” Entrepreneurs are familiar with receiving support from the SBDC at this location. As a result, the CEED incubator will be able to build upon their good reputation and brand recognition. Dr. Woodley continued, “Support for startups and entrepreneurs is what the University does, and you will help us to grow that exponentially.”