WHEELING - An old Wheeling building is the site of an effort to breathe new life into the business community.
West Liberty University and the Wheeling Academy of Law and Science collaborated to create Intellectual Capitol, a business incubator to help entrepreneurs graduating from the Hilltop. It is based in the First State Capitol building, at 1413 Eoff St.
"Our goal is to employ local people and businesses through education," said attorney Patrick Cassidy, who founded WALS with wife Mary Ellen more than a decade ago. "We are excited that we can partner with West Liberty University to do this."
BUSINESS TALK — West Liberty University Vice President of Instructional Advancement Jason Koegler speaks about the new Intellectual Capitol business incubator. The incubator was created through a partnership between the university and the Wheeling Academy of Law and Science. -- Daniel Dorsch
WLU Vice President of Instructional Advancement Jason Koegler said the program encourages young people to invest their business efforts in the Wheeling area by supplying graduates with opportunities to get a business started.
"We want students to know that when you leave, we've got your back," Koegler said. "We are contributing to the rebirth of downtown Wheeling."
"This partnership will work with West Liberty graduates to create economic opportunity and businesses that grow, mature and stay in the Wheeling area," said Carrie White, director of WLU's Center for Entrepreneurship.
Since May the incubator has helped Matthew Myles and Caleb Filburn, 2013 WLU graduates, set up their graphic design and marketing company, NEUE. Myles said the company already has eight active clients.
"We never thought that our dream to start a design business could happen so quickly after graduation," Filburn said. "It has been great for us. We have been very busy."
"Really I find this entire process to be amazing," Myles said. "We've gone from working out of our homes to now having an office in a historic building in downtown Wheeling."
The space NEUE uses includes a workshop and laboratory room, industrial kitchen, fully restored dining area and a luxurious cigar room for meeting with clients.
WALS Executive Director Jay Good said the incubator is a proactive resource for young entrepreneurs and the community itself.
"You see so many efforts that say they want to promote business growth, but here they're actually doing it," Good said. "We're getting clients for our incubator tenants and helping them accomplish their goals."
Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron attended the event on Tuesday and said municipal leaders are excited to see the new business starter.
"It's an exciting idea to provide a working environment for aspiring entrepreneurs," Herron said. "The city is very pleased the university (and academy) have enough confidence in Wheeling to remain downtown."
Once their business is strong enough, Good said Myles and Filburn will move out of the incubator into their own office space.