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Whitewater Innovation Center adds first private employer

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Kevin Hoffman
April 29, 2011
— Whitewater Innovation Center officials have reached a lease agreement with Blackthorne Capital Management, making it the first private employer to rent space in the city's "business incubator."

Blackthorne is a financial management start-up company focused on research and development, according to a news release from UW-Whitewater. It employs 11 student interns and more than a half-dozen faculty members partnered with the company.


"Not only do faculty and researchers benefit, the greater benefit is to the students who will be actively involved in the partnership," said Peter Layton, co-founder and principal investor in Blackthorne.


"(We) will reach out and form new partnerships with other research institutions and universities with the intent of creating a collaborative environment promoting excellence in financial research," he added.


Blackthorne is the third company to rent space at the Innovation Center. Cooperative Education Service Agency 2, the state's largest cooperative education service agency, and Jefferson Eastern Dane Interactive Network, a virtual classroom and distance-learning business, signed leases last year.


Blackthorne signed a three-year agreement to rent approximately 780 square feet of space. About 12 office spaces remain vacant.


The Innovation Center is the first building constructed at the Whitewater University Technology Park. It's expected to serve as an incubator for young entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.


UW-Whitewater also is leasing about 2,500 square feet in the building to use for research.


Whitewater City Manager Kevin Brunner said negotiations are ongoing to bring other businesses to the center, according to a news release.


Some tenants already are moved in, but a grand opening for the public is scheduled Thursday, May 5. Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce Paul Jardin, Dennis Foldenauer from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and city and university officials are expected to speak during the ceremony.


The Innovation Center, along with the technology park's infrastructure and an extension of Starin Road, will cost about $11 million. A large portion of that was funded through a $4.7 million federal economic development grant.



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