Ground is broken for D.S. Davidson Invention to Innovation Center at UAH

I2C ground lineup

On hand to break ground for the D.S. Davidson Invention to Innovation Center on the UAH Campus were UAH President Robert Altenkirch, Dorothy Davidson, CEO of Davidson Technologies, Governor of the State of Alabama Kay Ivey, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Philip Paradise, Regional Director of the Economic Development Administration.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Local, state and federal dignitaries attended a groundbreaking ceremony today for the D.S. Davidson Invention to Innovation Center (I²C) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The Invention to Innovation Center is a regional initiative that fosters, promotes, and accelerates the commercialization of technology-based ventures through incubation, co-working, mentorship, funding, and strategic support.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey led today’s program.

"The Dorothy Davidson Invention to Innovation Center will serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs and new business development right here in the ‘Titan of Innovation’, the City of Huntsville," Governor Ivey said. "Within this soon to be constructed building, new technologies and ideas will be developed which will help change our world forever. It is also fitting that this important new tool for thinkers and doers will be named after Dorothy Davidson, who is committed to new thinking, creating big ideas and to encouraging STEM education and careers."

The three-story, 46,650-square-foot building is adjacent to UAH’s College of Business building with direct access provided on the second and third floors. It will also be within walking distance of the Louis Salmon Library, the Shelby Center for Science and Technology, and the Engineering Building.

"The I²C space combines three interconnected elements: shared workspace, co-working community, and collaborative co-creation," says Rigved Joshi, who oversees strategy, programming, partnerships, and day-to-day operations at the center. "I²C facility and programs will support entrepreneurs on building scalable, investable, high-growth, technology-focused businesses that will serve as catalysts for economic development and regional innovation."

Dorothy S. Davidson, the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Davidson Technologies Inc., wants to help visionaries achieve their own professional goals. This passion resulted in a $5 million gift to UAH in support of the I2C business incubator. "I’ve started businesses myself and I know how hard it is when you don’t have the support you need," she said when the gift was announced. "Most people fail because, while they have the technological expertise, they don’t have the necessary business skills."

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby was influential in getting support for the project from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

"The groundbreaking of the Invention to Innovation Center at UAH is excellent news for our state" said Senator Shelby. "I was proud to support efforts to fund this project, which will focus on removing current barriers to innovation and encourage entrepreneurship throughout the region."

The three-pronged mission of I²C focuses on:

  • Stimulating growth of new and existing science and engineering high-tech companies
  • Catalyzing formation of a resilient entrepreneurial econsystem in the northern Alabama and south central Tennessee regions
  • Building partnerships with various entrepreneurial econsystems and hubs to create pathways that empower, ignite, and motivate the community to make ideas happen.

I²C serves as the focal point for incubation, education and support for entrepreneurs across the 15-county region in northern Alabama and south central Tennessee.

Construction is expected to be complete by early 2019.