Business
10:24 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Innovation Institute Intends to Spur Startups in Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is combining resources to spark innovation and increase support for entrepreneurial initiatives on and off campus.

Pitt Thursday launched the Innovation Institute, which consolidates the existing offices of Technology Management and Enterprise Development as well as the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

Pitt Provost Patricia Beeson says the new institute will eliminate any duplication of services by the three previously separate units. It is part of a "broader effort to cultivate an environment that empowers faculty, students, and staff to reach greater heights in their innovative research and entrepreneurial activities.”  

Marc Malandro, vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization, will serve as interim director of the institute.

“The Office of Technology Management and the Office of Enterprise Development will continue to work with faculty, staff, and students to facilitate the commercialization of new technologies and the formation of new companies originating at the University,” Malandro said. "Our goal is to give them (students) a choice rather than leaving Pitt and going to an established company, understanding that there's this other path which may be entrepreneurship, which may be starting your own company."

According to Malandro, 98 startup companies have been launched around Pitt innovations since 1996.

“The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence will continue to support and educate business leaders in the regional entrepreneurial community,” he said.

Malandro said more than 800 startup companies in the region have received guidance from the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence over the last 20 years.

He said innovation is essential for the university to be a stronger leader in education, research, and regional development.

"We look forward to doing our part to maximize our economic development footprint," Malandro said.

The start of Pitt’s new Innovation Institute comes a day after Carnegie Mellon University announced that 36 new startup companies were created at CMU this year — a record for that university. The startups include PECA Labs, which has developed a heart valve for children, and SolePower LLC, a company commercializing power-generating shoe insoles that can charge portable electronics including cell phones.