The University of Louisville’s Institute for Product Realization hosted an Innovation Showcase June 16, featuring a keynote speech from AOL co-founder Steve Case.
The showcase brings together area entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to highlight UofLl’s groundbreaking work in science, manufacturing and business. Held at the IPR’s Engineering Garage, the event treated attendees to tours of the adjoining FirstBuild and the Additive Manufacturing Competency Center, as well as a panel presentation from university administrators and members of the business community.
Case, who is currently CEO of the Washington, D.C. investment firm Revolution LLC, shared his experience on becoming one of the most successful and impactful entrepreneurs in American history and emphasized the importance of disruptive innovation in moving the economy forward. He challenged the idea that hotbeds of innovation can only be found in Silicon Valley or New York City and listed the qualities that make Louisville an ideal home for startups, including its central location, thriving foodservice and healthcare industries and strong business community.
Additionally, Case touted the IPR as a unique engine of innovation, and a nexus of manufacturing expertise, cutting-edge technology and public involvement. He praised the Institute’s willingness to push the envelope as essential to the future of enterprise in the city and cautioned business leaders in the audience not to rest on their laurels.
“If you want to know what a city will look like in 25 years, look at the state of its startups now,” Case said. “You have to constantly reinvent yourself, or you’ll get left behind.”
Case, who played a significant role in getting mainstream America connected to the Internet, is now investigating how his brainchild is being reinvented in his book The Third Wave, free copies of which were provided to attendees.
In addition to the presentation, representatives from the Speed School and College of Business demonstrated what their departments had to offer, including a custom prosthetic hand, a 3D printed heart and an Entrepreneurship MBA program ranked 23rd in the nation. Overall, the event’s atmosphere was one of optimism and excitement for innovation and potential.
“Two hundred and fifty years ago, America itself was just a startup,” said Case, reminding the audience that anything is possible.
Video from the event is available below: