New UNCC Building To House Innovators and Entrepreneurs -

New UNCC Building To House Innovators and Entrepreneurs

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A $35 million building known as Portal is the latest addition to UNC Charlotte's Research Institute. Portal is a building where entrepreneurs and businesses can set up shop and rent space, and employees can work one on one with UNCC researchers and students to develop their ideas.

"We know that now that we have this new space available that we're going to be able to draw more companies to campus to be able to do part of their business on campus, primarily with research and development or business start-ups," Bob Wilhem, UNCC's Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, said.

There are nine companies already in the Portal building, and there is space for about 15 more businesses. The research being done at Portal ranges from information technology to medical therapy to energy efficiency. One of the new small businesses, Driving MBA, is a company working to develop a driving simulator prototype, along with curriculum, that will especially focus on teen drivers.

Murdoch Morrison is behind the local Driving MBA project.

"I've lost a kid on the highway a number of years ago," Morrison said. "Three of my business associates have lost kids on the highway, Everytime I turn around, I see this situation again, and we are simply saying we think we can do better."

Throughout the development of the prototype, Morrison hopes to eventually collaborate with engineers at UNCC.

"It just keeps you thinking out of the box to have other people in the building that are doing different things," Morrison said.

UNCC estimates in the past, 200 jobs have been created through its collaboration and research with companies. The new goal is to produce 2,000 more jobs over the next ten years.

"We are expecting some good things out of this collaboration effort here," said.

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