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Rowan Engineering, Rohrer College of Business help take Cooper health care on the road

Good engineering and good business just may lead to good health in South Jersey in the near future.

That’s because a project that the Rowan University College of Engineering and Rohrer College of Business are teaming on with Cooper University Hospital will bring health care services right to where people live and work.

Under the guidance of Mechanical Engineering Chairman Dr. Eric Constans and professor Dr. Jennifer Kadlowec, four undergraduate students are working to help Cooper docs turn a virtually empty 55-foot trailer into a mobile health clinic.

This spring, members of a mechanical engineering clinic team are designing the mobile medical center, which will include an office, restroom, waiting area and examination rooms in a vehicle that is just eight feet wide.

Collaborating on the initiative are senior Lauren Newbert, 21, Marlton; junior Kyle Pillion, 20, Marlton; senior Alex Redfield, 22, Penns Grove; and junior Chris Whipple, 21, Williamstown.

“Cooper wants us to resurrect the trailer and make it more modern,” Constans said.

The Rowan team will help them do just that. This semester they are using SolidWorks, employing the computer-assisted design software to lay out the lab, from how rooms will be placed right down to where equipment will be stored.

Meanwhile, across campus in the Rohrer College of Business, M.B.A. students have been working in conjunction with Dr. Steven Phelan, William G. Rohrer Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship, to create a strategic business plan for the health mobile.

Three students in the Managing Organizational Strategy Class — Al-Qumar Atkins, 24, Bridgeton; Alexandra Holmes, 27, West Deptford; and Lisa Schultz, 36, Landisville — have been devoting the semester in part to determining how Cooper can best use its resources to reach its goals with the new facility, determining strategies to bring the concept to market.

The initiative reflects the Rohrer College of Business’ project-based learning philosophy, with students handling multiple real-world projects for clients throughout the region. Their strategic business plan will address product definition; a market overview, including market size, goals and objectives; a target market; an implementation plan and financials.

The work is good for Cooper and for the M.B.A. students.

“Ultimately employees want people who have real-world skills who can hit the ground running,” Phelan said. “Our students learn to apply skills to real-world challenges. This is the best preparation we can give them for their future employment and development.”

“I think it s a really great project because it’s for the community. It’s pretty exciting to be part of it,” said Holmes, who earned a B.S. in entrepreneurships from Rowan University and worked as a product manager for a tour operator Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, Pa.

When the Health Mobile on Wheels is complete, Cooper medical professionals will take the unit to sites throughout South Jersey, possibly as early as this fall. They’ll provide pro-bono services to select publics, offering free health screenings and teaming with municipalities and organizations to provide services at events such as walk-a-thons. They’ll also offer fee-based corporate wellness screenings, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, hearing, vision and pulmonary tests.

Cooper expects the trailer to accommodate multiple patients at a time, some in waiting rooms and some in examination areas.

Pillion said the project benefits students and others. “It’s a real-life engineering project that will serve the community,” he said.

“I think if we succeed with this project it will be the first of many we do with Cooper, especially as Rowan expands into biomedical engineering education,” Constans said.

South Jersey Technology Park to open in fall in Mantua

This fall, Mantua Township will welcome one of its newest — and largest — neighbors when the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University opens the doors of its first building, the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center.

The two-story, 45,000-square-foot innovation center will house sponsored research conducted by Rowan’s College of Engineering and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a technology business incubator operated by Rowan’s Rohrer College of Business, along with technology-related businesses and organizations.

Located on Rt. 322 off Rt. 55, the technology park eventually will include 25 buildings that will provide competitively priced facilities for start-up and established companies to bring innovative technologies to the marketplace. Those companies can tap into the “Rowan Connection” and will have access to some of the brightest young researchers and technology experts; work with professors who have national and international reputations in engineering, sciences and business; and gain support for product development initiatives from a university recognized for its expertise in a wide range of technical fields.

The technology park is a public/private partnership supported by numerous organizations and individuals, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority ($5.8 million), the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology ($1.5 million), South Jersey businessman Samuel H. Jones ($1 million), the Rowan University Foundation ($1 million), the U.S. Small Business Administration ($500,000) and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs ($150,000).

Rowan President Dr. Donald Farish said, “We’re excited about our newest venture and what it can mean not only to the University but also to Mantua Township and South Jersey. Technology — and businesses related to it — will only expand in the future. As that happens, the technology park will bring jobs to our area and help fuel the regional economy.”

Mantua Township Mayor Tim Chell added, “Mantua Township is extremely proud to serve as the host municipality for the SJ Tech Park.  We are excited about the economic opportunities the Tech Park will bring to our Township.”

South Jersey Technology Park offers tenants support from some of Rowan University’s brightest

Few would argue that the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center at the South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP) at Rowan University is beautiful: the building features two floors, totaling 45,000-square feet of fit-to-order facilities for budding entrepreneurs, existing high-tech business and leading-edge researchers.

Few would say that the location of the Technology Park’s first building is not convenient: it’s just a few hundred yards from a major highway (Rt. 55) and strategically based just 20 miles from Center City Philadelphia in the heart of one of the hottest growth areas of the state, Gloucester County.

Few would argue that, as the home of Rowan University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Technology Park is the premier location in the Delaware Valley for launching and growing a high-technology business.

And it’s doubtful anyone would argue that the facility’s core strength is apparent right in its name: the Technology Park at Rowan University. Companies located at the Technology Park will share the “Rowan Connection” and will have access to some of the brightest young researchers and technology company experts in the region; work with professors who have national and international reputations in engineering, sciences and business; and gain support for their product development initiatives from a university recognized for its expertise in a wide range of technical fields.

“All businesses, particularly technology-based companies, have a continuing need for access to the best and brightest technical and business talent available. The university research park model addresses this need by connecting businesses, on a sustained basis, to a diverse pool of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. This “connection” often produces accelerated business and product development outcomes, as well as the generation of new product ideas that flow naturally from the inventive, product ideation culture of a university,” said technology industry veteran Thomas Drury, who the SJTP board hired in 2007 to serve as CEO of the Technology Park.

Drury is not alone in those beliefs.

According to the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a report it prepared in partnership with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice (TPP) (“Characteristics and Trends in North American Research Parks: 21st Century Directions”) shows “University Research Parks are emerging as strong sources of entrepreneurship, talent and economic competitiveness.”

“They have become a key element in the infrastructure supporting the growth of today’s knowledge economy,” the report continued. “By providing a location in which researchers and companies operate in close proximity, research parks create an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation and promotes the development, transfer and commercialization of technology.”

In AURP/TPP’s survey of 134 university research parks, park directors said the primary reason tenants located at a university park was access to a skilled workforce that included students, a factor 85 percent of the survey respondents said was of high or very high importance to tenants.

Technology parks tied to or based near universities demonstrated other benefits as well. Among those benefits, the AURP/TPP report indicated was that each job based at a research park generated 2.5 additional jobs, just one of the plusses of constructing a technology park in South Jersey.

“The benefits of a university technology park location seen nationally in the AURP study are apparent fully at Rowan’s Tech Park. Companies located at SJTP have access to Rowan faculty across eight colleges and to the 100 students who graduate each year from Rowan’s nationally ranked College of Engineering. In addition, technology park-located companies have access to world-class rapid prototyping, research and test facilities that, due to their cost, are unavailable to most developing technology businesses. Access to a combination of diverse business and technical talent as well as facilities, all available in the culture of a dynamic university, is the reason to be at the Tech Park. Plus, the space is fantastic,” said Drury.

The first building (the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center) of the planned 25-building Technology Park is now completed and available for occupancy. Located off Rt. 322 near the Rt. 55 interchange in Mantua Township, the Technology Park provides competitively priced, Class A facilities for start-up and established companies to bring innovative technologies to the marketplace. The 45,000-square-foot Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center includes a mix of laboratories and laboratory/office space for private technology-based firms and for Rowan sponsored research. In addition, the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center will be the home of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a technology business incubator operated by the Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University.

The Technology Park is a public/private partnership that has received support from numerous organizations and individuals, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority ($5.8 million), the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology ($1.5 million), South Jersey businessman Samuel H. Jones ($1 million), the Rowan University Foundation ($1 million), the U.S. Small Business Administration ($500,000) and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs ($150,000).

South Jersey Technology Park to open July 2008

That the first tenant of the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center at the South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP) at Rowan University will be Rowan’s College of Engineering seems fitting. The nationally ranked school has an outstanding reputation for clinic-based work and industry partnerships, and its sponsored research is outgrowing the College’s home.

But the College — which plans to move some of its research into the facility in July 2008 — is just the start of life at the Technology Park, located in Mantua Township just off Rt. 322 at the Rt. 55 interchange. The planned 25-building Technology Park will provide competitively priced, Class A facilities for budding entrepreneurs, start-up and established companies to bring innovative technologies to the marketplace.

Tom Drury, CEO of the Technology Park said, ”Now that our first building is completed, our marketing activity has increased significantly. As a result, we are now seeing very high interest from a variety of different technology firms, both large and small. The firms are interested not only in the facility, but also in the value of the close affiliation with Rowan that results from location at the Technology Park. We anticipate leasing up the entire first building, and are looking forward to ground breaking for building #2 as soon as possible.”

Any of those businesses should find a suitable home at the Center, which features two floors, totaling 45,000-square feet of fit-to-order facilities, a mix of laboratories and laboratory/office space for private technology-based firms and for Rowan sponsored research. Strategically based just 20 miles from Center City, Philadelphia, in Gloucester County, the first building of the Technology Park is in the heart of one of the fastest growing parts of the state.

In addition, the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center will be the home of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a technology business incubator operated by the Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University.

The College of Engineering, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the technology business incubator are all bonuses for businesses that locate at the Technology Park.

“Companies located at the Technology Park benefit from the ‘Rowan Connection.’ They’ll be able to tap into some of the brightest young researchers and business minds in the Delaware Valley and work with nationally recognized professors in engineering, sciences and business. Faculty-led student teams in engineering and sciences assist companies of all sizes to accelerate product development activity, while business planning and other business functions are supported by comparable teams from the Colleges of Business and Communications,” said Drury.

The Technology Park is a public/private partnership that has received support from numerous organizations and individuals, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority ($5.8 million), the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology ($1.5 million), South Jersey businessman Samuel H. Jones ($1 million) and the Rowan University Foundation ($1 million).

For more information on the Technology Park, visit http://www.sjtechpark.com or contact Thomas Drury at drury@rowan.edu or (856) 256-5099.

Entrepreneurs can survive, thrive during economic downturn

The biggest issue for most entrepreneurs is cash.

Whether the economy is booming or in the doldrums, entrepreneurs need investment capital to kick off their projects.

Many entrepreneurs have ideas that contain significant potential. But the idea is only the beginning. The trick is to implement the idea, to make it a reality. Doing that is not so simple or easy.

Entrepreneurs, generally, possess a significant amount of drive, especially when it comes to their own ideas. But they soon realize that there is no “free money” out there. No one is going to give them any capital until they invest significantly in their own idea.

The current real estate market makes getting a home equity loan — often used in the past by budding entrepreneurs — more difficult now. Some entrepreneurs have turned to using the “Visa/Master Card loan” by running up charges on their personal credit cards. This method of acquiring cash can work in the short term but becomes a very expensive means of financing in the long term.

There are other options for financing, such as venture capitalists and “angels.” However, for the most part, venture capitalists are more interested in companies producing revenue and those that have a solid customer base. Even angel investors are moving away from early start-up operations due to the significant risk associated with that kind of investment.
For the most part, entrepreneurs are on their own until they are able to secure some real customers and generate real revenue.
Advisors to emerging entrepreneurial enterprises often suggest the company focus on a single product or service to generate both customers and revenue. Once the company can establish a “market need” — proof that people will purchase their product or service — the risk factors for equity investors goes down significantly. The company is then much more likely to acquire equity investment or debt financing.

There are other options for entrepreneurs. The New Jersey Business Incubation Network (NJBIN, www.njbin.org ) is establishing a small fund for incubator client companies that will provide a cash match for up to $50,000 to assist start-up companies. The funds are provided by the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology (http://www.nj.gov/scitech). NJBIN is an association of incubator managers connected to the 14 incubators in the State of New Jersey. Other sources are available for companies with “high-value” products. But most entrepreneurs will find themselves out on their own.

Those who do may also want to turn to support organizations such as the Entrepreneurs Forum of Southern New Jersey (www.efsnj.org), which holds monthly meetings to assist small and start-up companies in successfully building their customer base and revenues. In February, for example, the group held a meeting on leasing as an alternative method of financing a start-up or small business expansion. Meetings with similar topics are scheduled every month except during the summer.

Entrepreneurs also may look to higher education for assistance. The Rowan University Incubator has assisted more than 40 companies in the last year. All are “associate” companies because the Incubator has not yet moved into its new space in the South Jersey Technology Park (http://www.sjtechpark.com/). “We are expecting to move in sometime this summer,” said Peter Jamieson, associate director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the incubator manager. “Once we have actual space, we can offer support on a more regular basis to our client companies. The incubator provides monthly mentoring as well as office space and most business amenities as part of the total package provided to all client companies.”