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New center at UAH to help grow technology-based businesses

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The University of Alabama in Huntsville opened a new building called the Invention to Innovation Center, or I²C, on Monday.

The center's main purpose is to help promote business growth. On the website, it says the center "is a regional initiative that fosters, promotes, and accelerates commercialization of technology-based ventures through incubation, co-working, mentorship, funding, and strategic support."

UAH President Robert Altenkirch says each startup company will go through an interview process and based on guidelines, a group will select certain companies to reside in the facility.

Each company chosen will get reduced rent and assistance from business faculty and staff, as well as students.

"Most of these technology-based companies that fail don't fail because of the technology," says Altenkirch. "They fail because they don't know how to run a business." Altenkirch says this new center will help change that.

One of the missions of the new Invention to Innovation Center is to grow new and existing science and engineering companies, but they say it's not just for science and engineering majors.

"They're going to need engineers to manufacture the parts," says UAH student Jarrett Grubb. "They're going to need entrepreneurs and businessmen to get these ideas out, they're going to need human relations people to do everything that goes on in the building."

Governor Kay Ivey joined in the ribbon cutting and said the building is a "game-changer."

"It's not only impacting current students and leaders," says the governor. "It will have a major impact on future generations."

On Twitter, Governor Kay Ivey said, "This will be a terrific catalyst for growth in this already booming area."

Altenkirch says as of June 10, five businesses are lined up to join the Invention to Innovation Center so far.

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