The Point at Otterbein University: How Higher Education Works in the 21st Century.
Boyette’s innovative services give communities, companies, and organizations the blueprints to actually execute their ideas. Great ideas create the future, and Boyette has helped some of these ideas become a reality. In 2015, in an economic development strategic plan for the City of Westerville (Ohio), Boyette recommended the city partner with nearby Otterbein University to develop an innovation center to better support entrepreneurship in the city.
After initial conversations between Westerville and Otterbein leaders, the university engaged Boyette to conduct an all-inclusive feasibility study for an innovation center on the campus. For the study, Boyette used a multistep approach:
- Boyette examined a variety of issues related to the center’s purpose, supporters, competitors, funding, and organizational structure.
- Offered recommendations for the building design, as to allow the building to serve as a physical symbol of Otterbein’s commitment to a progressive and dynamic integration of business and academics.
- Estimated the potential total investment required, as well as calculating the centers operating budget, revenue, and possible modes of funding.
To ensure the feasibility of an innovation center at Otterbein, Boyette recommended that the facility must be different than anything else of its kind by offering the opportunity for dynamic integration of academic curriculum with the business community, while also serving as a catalyst for an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Westerville. Following completion of the study, Otterbein began aggressively raising money and moving forward with plans for the center. The results and responses to the study were compelling, and The Point at Otterbein opened just one year after completion of the feasibility study. Its amenities include:
- Space and services to support start-up businesses with potential to become high-growth companies
- Lab space and services to support research and development and prototyping for small- to medium-sized manufacturers
- Makerspace for all who are interested in innovation and creation
- Opportunities for interaction between business users and Otterbein students and faculty
- Networking opportunities for all who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship
- Partnerships with Westerville City Schools to provide opportunities for K-12 students
The Pointis truly unique among innovation centers: it serves as “the point” where the community of Central Ohio, businesses, and Otterbein University’s academic programs can all collaborate in one place to create and develop great ideas. Erin Bender, Executive Director of The Point says, “It’s not necessarily entrepreneurship based, or student startup based or student directed based–it’s really about the collaboration, the partnership and the great things that we can create and develop with those partners…working in the same facility.”
The Point stands to serve as one of the unique and innovative assets in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Central Ohio.
Today The Point is home to an impressive list of tenants like Nestle and Honda, as well as startups Nikola Labs and edgeThingZ, all conducting world-class research in food science, financial technology, and advanced manufacturing. The Point serves as a reminder that if the right partners are brought together at the right time, then even the toughest challenges are possible.