As a beautiful new building is being erected in our downtown neighborhood, I decided to check in with the woman behind the scenes of the project, Nucleus President and CEO Vickie Yates Brown, and get the scoop on the state-of-the-art, new digs at the Nucleus Innovation Center – Market Street.
Lori Kommor: You’ve been involved with Nucleus since its beginning. Tell us a little more about it.
Vickie Yates Brown: Essentially, Nucleus is all about creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. We are a unique economic development arm of the University of Louisville supporting research, innovation and commercialization. We try to provide resources and services – like business management seminars and consulting services – to start-up companies in a variety of fields, but especially those engaged in innovation and research.
LK: We’ve been hearing a lot about Louisville becoming a hub for the “innovation economy.” How does Nucleus fit into that?
VYB: In order for entrepreneurs to be successful, they need three things: access to investors, infrastructure and support services. Dr. Ramsey envisioned the unique and critical role for Nucleus to become the engine firing up Louisville’s innovation economy.
LK: So tell us about this new building.
VYB: The Nucleus Innovation Center – Market Street is an eight-story, 160,000 usable square foot structure under construction at 300 E. Market St. This building is uniquely designed to promote and facilitate the collaboration of innovators and entrepreneurs. It’s being built explicitly to move ideas “from the mind to the marketplace,” as Dr. Ramsey likes to say. Building this from the ground up allows us to thoughtfully and strategically bring all of our critical services under one roof: office space, lab space, research space, entrepreneurial support services, training programs, business development support and mentorship to budding new enterprises.
LK: Who’s going to be moving in?
VYB: We’re opening in the spring of 2013. We have received seven letters of interest from various companies seeking space, including two that are looking for an entire floor. Our anchor tenant will be the International Center for Long Term Care Innovation, which specifically accelerates start-up companies by identifying the best and brightest ideas and research in the aging care sector – a sector for which Louisville is already a growing national hub.
LK: And this building is just the start, correct?
VYB: Correct. Ultimately the master plan calls for four buildings in what will be an innovation campus that covers the remainder of the block as well as the adjacent block to the west. The Nucleus Innovation Park will cluster valuable resources and connections to grow business ideas. We want to be where gifted thinkers and entrepreneurs, from all over the country, come to get their next million-dollar idea off the ground.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune