Jul 14, 2015

Board looking into adding facility space to Whitewater University Technology Park

Excerpted from Janesville Gazette
By Andrea Anderson

The Innovation Center is at capacity, and advocates of the business incubator are hoping to break ground on additional facility space within two years.

The Innovation Center on 130 acres at the Whitewater University Technology Park is full with 15 tenants.

The park board for the past year has been pondering a new building or expanding the existing building so more businesses can move to Whitewater and the entrepreneurial environment can continue to flourish, board members said.

The center’s goal is for entrepreneurs to be out within three or four years after their business has taken off.

The Innovation Center has four businesses on a waiting list and three virtual tenants. The park and 37,500-square-foot building were finished in May 2011.

The building was at capacity in the fall, faster than predicted, said Bud Gayhart, a UW-Whitewater representative for the board.

Having an additional building would give mature businesses the choice of staying or relocating to develop the entrepreneurial environment Whitewater has worked so hard to foster, said Mark Johnson, Whitewater University Technology Park executive director.

“What I’m envisioning is the ability to round out the entire entrepreneurial system–what is needed from that very base start-up to the established business,” Johnson said.

Board members said the Innovation Center is doing what it’s supposed to be doing as businesses are moving out and expanding.

The center has a symbiotic relationship with UW-W.

College students work as interns and often land full-time jobs with the companies after graduation, Gayhart said.

Gayhart said connections to university students and departments are the center’s “secret sauce.”

The greater Whitewater community benefits because all the companies that have left the technology park relocated within Whitewater for some period of time. Nine businesses have moved from others cities to the Innovation Center.

Andrew Hoeft, a UW-W graduate, started at the center in January 2012. He quickly expanded the software application company, Pinpoint Software, and worked with other businesses in the building to do so.

Hoeft founded Pinpoint in 2011 and created Date Check Pro, software used by grocery stores to know when and where products in the store are expiring. The company also created Taskle, a task management and audit application for retail stores.

In October 2012, Pinpoint moved from the technology park to downtown Whitewater and moved this year to Madison to access senior software developers.

Hoeft has maintained his Whitewater business relationships and said he’s grateful for his time at the center. If the park gets an additional building, businesses like Pinpoint might be able to stay.

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