West Virginia University’s Brickstreet Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will become the Encova Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation thanks to a generous donation from the Encova Mutual Insurance Group.
The gift, which is for $2 million, is the first corporate gift made in the Building Beyond campaign, which officially launched Monday, and will provide a new home for the Encova Center within Reynolds Hall.
“We are very excited about the partnership and the opportunity to partner with the business school and West Virginia University,” said Greg Burton, executive chairman of Encova Insurance. “It’s a perfect partnership for us as we strive to make a difference in the communities in which we work and live. Several of our associates have come from West Virginia University, so the tie between us is deep — one that we are very proud to have been a part of over the past 15 years. We look forward to seeing what this partnership will bring in the years to come.”
The Entrepreneurship Center was founded in 2002 and has continued to promote entrepreneurial education, community engagement and economic development in the community and state.
In 2013, the BrickStreet Insurance Foundation donated $3 million to name and support the center. Since then, educational programs have expanded to include new majors and minors within the college, and the center has coordinated valuable experiential learning programs for students.
“Encova continues to be a tremendous asset as we move toward our new home at Reynolds Hall,” said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of The Chambers College and vice president for Start-up West Virginia. “This new space will be an excellent reflection of our commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and will aid us in helping our students bring their visions to fruition.”
The Encova Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s reach goes far beyond the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
“Encova is an important corporate partner for West Virginia University as it prepares future innovators and entrepreneurs to transform our state and world,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “This kind of partnership with industry, government and other fields is essential as universities seek to drive discovery and nurture innovation.”
Moving forward Encova will double down on its support for the College by fueling the vision of experiential learning and will continue to provide a venue and platform for our students to engage with business innovation and entrepreneurship in West Virginia and beyond.
“One of the key things for Encova is to give back in the communities in which we work and live, and there’s nothing more important than partnering with colleges and universities throughout West Virginia,” Burton said. “Our company was started with the entrepreneurial spirit, and we think it’s great to be able to work with and see students be able to go in, get help for ideas that they may have for the marketplace, and quite frankly, help create jobs and businesses in West Virginia, which we think is very important to the long-term viability of our state is to have startups like the ones that may come out of the entrepreneurship school at WVU.”
The Encova Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be housed in the Experiential Learning Pavilion, a signature space within Reynolds Hall that will foster future business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.
“On behalf of my colleagues at the WVU Foundation, I extend my sincere gratitude to Encova for this wonderful gift benefitting our Chambers College of Business and Economics,” said Cindi Roth, WVU Foundation president and CEO. “The Encova Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the new Reynolds Hall will provide our students with an experiential learning platform enabling them to compete in the fast-paced world of business. We are so fortunate to be a partner with them as they prepare the future leaders of tomorrow.”