As the Innovation Hub at UF doubled in size, its new director doubled his duties as well. Meet Mark Long, established leader of the award-winning UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute and now the new leader at the Hub at UF. As the director of incubation services, Long will oversee both business incubators.
“We want to capitalize on the synergy of the global recognition of the Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute and the Innovation Hub, now doubled in size,” Long said. “Having them under one ‘roof,’ so to speak, gives us the opportunity to exploit the strengths of both incubators to better serve the entrepreneurs of our community.”
Uniting the multi-use technology incubator and the biotechnology incubator under Long’s leadership allows the two facilities to offer extended services to its clients. For instance, a company may rent labs at the Sid Martin facility in Progress Park in Alachua but may need to meet with a potential investor in Gainesville. That company can reserve a conference room at the Hub. A technology company at the Hub may need to use specific lab equipment only available at the Sid Martin facility. No problem.
Or a startup may apply to the Hub but be a better fit for Sid Martin. Or vice versa. Again, not a problem. It’s part of the efforts of UF Innovate, an umbrella organization uniting not just the two incubators but the UF Office of Technology Licensing, too.
“One goal, one team,” said Jim O’Connell, who joined the university in April as director of UF OTL and the assistant vice president of technology transfer at the university. “OTL, the Hub and Sid Martin form a comprehensive system for moving ideas out of the lab into the world, where they can change it for the better.
“UF Innovate brings together the incubators, capital, management talent, intellectual property generated by university researchers and the expertise of our tech transfer staff.”
Under Long’s leadership, the Sid Martin incubator was named the “Randall M. Whaley Global Incubator of the Year” for 2017. He became director of the biotechnology incubator in 2016. Prior to serving as director, he was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and the former president and CEO of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation, where he directed activities of IU’s business incubator and tech transfer office. He also served as director of Technical Operations at Washington University in St. Louis.
Long has authored several books on incubation and economic development, served as a global consultant for startups, tech transfer, and business incubators and accelerators, and won the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Business Incubation from the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA).
“Mark’s background and track record make him a perfect fit to lead our incubators into alignment with the university’s goal of preeminence,” said Dr. David Norton, vice president of the Office Research. “We are here to help entrepreneurs, engage the community, and provide services that will foster economic growth.”
Long’s new role was effective November 7.
“What I’m trying to do in my role is to drive the mission of both incubators: ‘to help entrepreneurs feed, fuel and heal the world’ (Sid Martin’s mission) and ‘to build, drive and support the spirit of entrepreneurship,’ which is the Hub’s mission,” Long said.
“We are here to fulfill our mission to the university, to economic development and entrepreneurial engagement, and to grow the Alachua County economy.”
By: Sara Dagen