Research Park soars to new heights with student interns

The University’s major research component, “Research Park”:, geared into motion this summer developing new entrepreneurial businesses with its business incubator EnterpriseWorks being listed as one of the top “10 Start-Up Incubators to Watch” by “” EnterpriseWorks has already incubated 30 start-up companies, many founded by University faculty and students.

“The goal as an incubator is to help companies grow and thrive,” said Laura Bleill, marketing coordinator of Research Park and Incubation Facilities.

Bleill said Research Park has welcomed six new companies over the summer, as well as adding two affiliates.

One of the companies, Lextech Global Services, based in Chicago, was founded by University alumnus Alex Bratton. Bratton is coming to speak on the Illinois campus Sept. 6 to share his innovations and experiences as a multi-company founder. LexTech is geared towards creating mobile apps for businesses.

“Demand for Lextech’s app design and development services is growing quickly, which means we need more space and more talent. When I identified this need, I knew my alma mater was the perfect location for our expansion,” Bratton said in a press release.

4D Teleport Technologies is another company that took up residence in the park in July. The company, founded by Klara Nahrstedt, professor of computer science, and husband Normand Paquin, seeks to bring immersive technology to gaming and education, among other applications.

“Our primary interest was to be located where there are people in the same period in business development,” said Paquin, the company’s president.

He added that in addition to access to the entrepreneurially-minded residents of EnterpriseWorks, the facilities also has well-developed infrastructure, such as high-speed Internet connectivity.

Research Park received many different types of funding. One of the main grants comes from Small Business Innovation Research, a federal award. Bleill said 22 such awards were made to Research Park companies in 2010, and were typically around $100,000 each.

EnterpriseWorks has also developed a new student intern program within their company this summer that has proved to be successful. The Shared Services Program uses student talent to develop the many companies in Research Park. These students come with background knowledge from all majors from psychology to urban planning and development.

“Students are “a major part”: of the park. Our mission is economic development and in the student aspect, this is an extension of their education,” Bleill said.