A Laboratory, Classroom, and Proving Ground

What academic peers can learn from OU’s Price College of Business and the Tom Love Innovation Hub.

When it comes to the health and resilience of regional economies, business schools should be more than centers of academia; they should be engines of—and laboratories for—economic development. In this regard, the University of Oklahoma’s Michael F. Price College of Business is a prime example of what a business college needs to be: a nexus of learning, research, and innovation. A place where experts, entrepreneurs, and students alike come together to work and study, side by side. 

With nearly a century of experience at the center of one of the nation’s most dynamic economic environments, Price College has been a witness to the boom times, and a student of what happens between them. Along the way, Price has earned a reputation for an agile and steady-minded approach to business: an approach the college has branded as Future Proven. 

With the Future Proven ethos, Price College is doing what all business schools should strive to accomplish for their regions. To that end, Price has become a real-world laboratory for economic reinvention and retooling, a proving ground for novel approaches to perennial business challenges, and a source of wide-open thinking about what’s next for regional and global economies. 

Welcome to the I-Hub

The perfect embodiment of all of this is the Tom Love Innovation Hub (also known as the I-Hub). Established in 2016 on OU’s campus in Norman, the I-Hub represents a commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. And as a catalyst for economic development, it channels the university’s intellectual resources into the heart of Oklahoma’s economy.

As a physical environment, the I-Hub is built for moments of collaboration and inspiration, with spaces open to students, faculty, and entrepreneurs from around the community. All the elements are in place to create a business plan, pitch it to prospects, prototype a product, and bring it to market. 

The programs and resources offered by the I-Hub are diverse and results-driven. 

The Fabrication Lab is a testament to the school’s hands-on approach to learning and innovation. It’s a place where ideas meet execution. Equipped with advanced tools like 3D printers and commercial waterjets, the Fab Lab, as it’s known, helps transform concepts into prototypes, supporting entrepreneurs as they navigate the journey from inspiration to business plan to market.

Another place where creativity intersects with commerce is Price’s Content Lab. Here, students create media and in-market messaging that elevates emerging companies and university organizations, bringing together entrepreneurial ventures and academic exploration, and getting the word across Oklahoma and beyond. 

As the university’s gateway to entrepreneurship, Startup OU welcomes individuals from all disciplines. This initiative encapsulates the inclusive spirit of Price College, fostering a collaborative environment that nurtures ideas and launches ventures, propelling Oklahoma’s economy forward.

The OK Catalyst Programs extend the college’s reach beyond the university’s walls, supporting technology commercialization and securing early-stage funding for innovators. These programs have spurred economic activity and put Price College at the leading edge of technology research and development in the state.

Complementing and implementing all of these aspects of the I-Hub is The Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth (I-CCEW). Established in 2006, I-CCEW fosters economic development through technology commercialization, software business development, social entrepreneurship, and agile product design. As an entrepreneurial hub, I-CCEW delivers immersive learning, collaborative spaces, high-impact programs, and consulting services to students, young professionals, entrepreneurs, and community members across Norman, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City.

Building the pipeline, and filling it. 

Grants and funding from various sources—including the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, and private donors—have been instrumental in making these programs possible. And this type of financial support recognizes the college’s transformative impact on the economic fabric of the region.

 The Price College of Business is more than an academic institution. It’s more than the top business school in Oklahoma. Price is an economic engine that drives regional prosperity, and the Tom Love Innovation Hub is a proving ground, laboratory, and physical manifestation of entrepreneurship that’s fearless and clear headed. 

OU’s Price College of Business stands as a shining example of how business schools can and should engage with their communities: By leading, not following. By shaping discourse and guiding the conversation about what’s necessary for sustained and sustainable regional economic growth. With students, educators, and partners in business, facing tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities, Future Proven. 

About OU’s Price College of Business

The University of Oklahoma’s Michael F. Price College of Business has experienced significant growth over the past five years, becoming OU’s second-largest college, with almost 5,800 students. The college offers highly ranked undergraduate, master’s, executive, and doctoral programs across six academic divisions. More information is available at price.ou.edu.

This content was paid for and created by the University of Oklahoma Price College of Business. The editorial staff of The Chronicle had no role in its preparation. Find out more about paid content.