Innovation Leads to Invitation

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s vice provost for Innovation & Economic Development, Alex Lawrence, was one of a select group of people nationwide who participated in The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus conference, held in Washington, D.C. 
Alex Lawrence 
vice provost for Innovation 
& Economic Development

Lawrence said although the conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, had a long title, the theme could be summarized in one word — change.   

“Institutions are changing their approach to entrepreneurship,” Lawrence said. “Universities and colleges are increasingly interacting with entrepreneurs in the business community to support commercialization, product development and the transfer of technology to the marketplace.”

The conference’s morning session, held at the Department of Commerce earlier this month, united representatives from universities that have innovative programs focused on commercialization and entrepreneurship. Lawrence and the other participants met with the acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank, as well as with Karen Gordon Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration.

The afternoon session was convened in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building located next to West Wing of the White House. Business leaders and venture capitalists shared their vision of successful academic/business relationships that could significantly benefit students, faculty and the community.

“Weber State was invited to participate because we are very active and supportive of the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Lawrence said. “The culture in Northern Utah is very entrepreneurial, and we try to be a mirror of what’s going on in the business community.”

One example of WSU’s entrepreneurial spirit is typified by the work Lawrence and the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics are doing to establish a new entrepreneurship minor. 

The minor will be open to both business majors and non-majors alike — any student who has the vision and desire to tackle new business ventures. By 2015, the Goddard School hopes the program will be developing 75 or more start-ups each year.

Visit for more news about Weber State University.
Alex Lawrence, vice provost, Innovation & Economic Development,
801-626-8940 •
Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 •