An Owensboro school that focuses on training future entrepreneurs is expanding its footprint in a facility that houses a business incubator.
The public school known as Innovation Academy launched in 2015 with its freshman class and has been occupying half the space at the Owensboro Centre for Business and Research. The school has grown and beginning in June will take over the entire 40,000-square-foot facility as it prepares for the Fall academic year with all four grades of high school.
The business incubator launched in 2009 to provide office and laboratory space for up-and-coming businesses with a focus on the life sciences.
Joe Berry served as executive vice president for the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation during the growth of the business and research center. He said the decision to lease the entire building to Innovation Academy is due to a combination of factors.
“The first was the vast majority of the tenants that are located in the facility are at the point where they are capable of graduating from the facility. And secondly, the Innovation Academy was in need of additional space.”
Berry said one of the first tenants in the research center was the plant-based pharmaceutical company Kentucky Bioprocessing.
“We also had another company Hollison, which was moving into the facility to utilize the laboratories," said Berry. "Western Kentucky University had a plant biologist that was operating within the building. And the University of Louisville had a cancer research program that was operating in Owensboro in cooperation with the hospital.”
Berry said those and other tenants have grown or are able to move to other locations. Kentucky Bioprocessing, for example, is now a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Reynolds American.
Berry said the economic development corporation will continue to assist startups, and will also connect them to regional and state resources.