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Innovation Center welcomes two new anchor tenants

From staff reports | May 8, 2017

The Ohio University Innovation Center (IC), the region’s small business incubator, announces two new anchor tenants, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and Extra Nerds.

Different from startup client companies, anchor tenants are established organizations that add value, connect resources and impart knowledge to the ventures housed at the IC. Other anchor tenants include Athenian Venture Partners and the Athens County Economic Development Council.

“The IC is delighted to welcome both the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and Extra Nerds,” said Stacy Strauss, director of the Innovation Center. “The Chamber is one of the most visible and well-networked organizations in the area, and our startup clients will benefit from having direct access to Chamber members and the products and services that they provide. We also couldn’t be happier to have Extra Nerds available to assist with the myriad of needs facing our companies including website development, search engine optimization and customized software development.” 

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce promotes job development and progress while working to facilitate a strong business climate in Athens County and assisting member companies in meeting their full potential.

“Positioning our office near service providers such as the Athens County Economic Development Council and the Innovation Center will allow us to collaborate and increase services offered to up-and-coming entrepreneurs in our area,” said Michelle Oestrike, president of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.

The self-titled “Chief Nerd,” Sid McFarland founded Extra Nerds, LLC in 2005. The company boasts a team of software developers with technical expertise in a wide variety of programming languages and frameworks. They provide all types of businesses with IT support, consulting and development services for mobile, desktop and web.

“Moving into the Innovation Center was one of the smartest decisions we’ve made. The staff was incredibly welcoming and flexible to our needs. We are thrilled to be a part of the team here and look forward to working with the businesses to fuel their growth through implementing innovative software solutions,” McFarland said.

In 2016, the IC was named Rural Incubator of the Year by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) and was recognized as a 2015-17 Top University Business Incubator in North America by UBI Global, an organization that benchmarks business incubators around the world.

The IC’s 36,000 square-foot facility features six wet labs, 33 offices, conference spaces and fully outfitted biotechnology and prototype development spaces. The center also serves local entrepreneurs by providing business coaching, access to funding opportunities and connections to other resources to help new ventures launch and grow. The IC works closely with university and regional partners, including TechGROWTH Ohio, a public/private partnership based at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

For more information about the Innovation Center, contact Associate Director Tanya Conrath at conratht@ohio.edu or 740.593.9346.