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A significant financial gift to William Jewell College from Liberty alumni Mark and Karen Mathes and Jared and Mary Mathes and the entire Mathes Family will fund the new Mathes Innovation Center opening on campus this month.

This unique, full-service Center supports students and local founders from the moment of their business proposal through the investment process. Members will gain business and technological acumen while immersed in Jewell’s culture of critical thought and inquiry. Center staff will curate interested investors on behalf of the Mathes Innovation Centers’ members to create a true one stop shop.

“There are many great ideas that never come to fruition due to the lack of infrastructure and assistance provided to the entrepreneur,” said Jared Mathes, '09. “The Center is an opportunity for students and business founders to test ideas and present them to all investor classes, pivoting from the more traditional investment style.”

An indispensable service of the Mathes Innovation Center is close collaboration with identified investors that will vet and present opportunities for funding. For Jewell students, this means mentorship in launching a business that will generate profit to help fund their education.

In addition to Jewell students and staff, the Center is open to area community members, entrepreneurs, innovators and current small business owners. Other offerings of the Center will include events, programs, ideation, business plan competitions, coaching, networking, curriculum, funding options and more to foster innovation and business development.

“Our goal with this Innovation Center is to not only teach business to our students but to create an environment where collaboration and innovation allow our students to live business as they learn," said Mark Mathes, '79. "By developing their entrepreneurial skills at the Innovation Center, many of these students will graduate into a job with a company they have already founded and own. We believe this approach will make us unique among the Innovation Centers throughout higher education nationwide.”

The Mathes Innovation Center, housed at 17 S. Jewell Street in the Pryor Center for Leadership Development, is also available as a flexible workspace solution for entrepreneurs and small businesses, offering rental options that range from co-working spaces, event spaces for small business gatherings and long-term leases for those looking for a more permanent home for their enterprise.

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