Department of Interior Awards UVI $495,000 to Fund Business Development Center

University of the Virgin Islands

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has awarded the University of the Virgin Islands a $495,000 grant to fund a state-of-the-art advanced Innovation and Business Development Center.

The grant will allow the university to redesign the first floor of the former West Bay Supermarket and transform it into an innovation and entrepreneurial space.  The space will be used by faculty, staff, students and the local business community to engage in creative and innovative opportunities that can further advance the mission of UVI while providing additional revenue streams.

Currently, students utilize two small rooms in the libraries of the university’s two campuses that are woefully inadequate and limited in capacity and equipment.

“The Innovation and Business Development Center aligns with the university’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan,” said Oluwafemi Banjoko, Ph.D., senior contracts and grants specialist.  “We envision a space where the local community and even people across the region can converge to bring about new solutions to the economic development and sustainability efforts of the university and its many community partners across the USVI.”

The goal of the center is to create a culture of creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset across the university.  The UVI hopes that projects such as this will assist in diversifying the economy and build resiliency with new and innovative businesses while providing a nest for the development of groundbreaking ideas.

The renovated center will serve as a hub where innovators can collaborate and assist each other to bring ideas to life.  The remodeled area will house creative design spaces fully equipped with prototyping, laser and digitization labs along with a technology suite, creativity pods, a cafe, conference and networking rooms.

For more information on the Innovation and Business Development Center, contact the Senior Contracts and Grants Specialist Oluwafemi Banjoko at 693-1100.