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Erienne Olesh: Spurring Innovation

Erienne Olesh

A familiar face in the research and innovation circles of West Virginia University has been named executive director of student and faculty innovation.

My goal is to bring together the resources around innovation at the University to create more seamless pathways, whether it be working with students and faculty at the early stages of their ideas or getting them on the right track to grow a sustainable startup company.

Erienne Olesh has been tapped to lead this new position – within the WVU Research Office – that aims to advance the development of small businesses commercializing innovations from research and technology generated by faculty and graduate students at the University. 

She will guide individuals throughout the commercialization and small business development process. 

Olesh previously served as director at Vantage Ventures and associate director for the Health Sciences Innovation Center. 

“We are very excited to have Dr. Olesh step into this role at the University,” said Vice President for Research Fred King. “Partnering with our Office of Technology Transfer, her Office will facilitate greater STTR/SBIR activity within West Virginia. She brings experience and expertise that will benefit the faculty and students in our research community who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.”

“My goal is to bring together the resources around innovation at the University to create more seamless pathways, whether it be working with students and faculty at the early stages of their ideas or getting them on the right track to grow a sustainable startup company,” Olesh said. 

She will also introduce budding entrepreneurs and innovators to programs and funding sources such as through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps and the Small Business Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer program. 

“There are also resources at the state level that many people aren’t aware of,” Olesh added. “We want faculty and students to know we’re a front door for them to come through.”

Olesh said she’s also interested in developing new programs and experiential opportunities to help graduate students commercialize their ideas or build startup companies. 

“Over the past 10 years, the University has worked hard to build up faculty and student innovation,” she said. “We’re reaching a critical mass of people who are partaking in those activities, so it’s now ever-important to provide clear and consistent resources and opportunities for engagement.”

For more information, contact Olesh at Erienne.Olesh@mail.wvu.edu.

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