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Developers plotting innovation district sites in state capital as Go Topeka creates animal health, ag hub

DATE POSTED:June 29, 2020

Startland News’ Startup Road Trip series explores innovative and uncommon ideas finding success in rural America and Midwestern startup hubs outside the Kansas City metro. This series is possible thanks to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which leads a collaborative, nationwide effort to identify and remove large and small barriers to new business creation.

TOPEKA — A pair of nationally recognized developers soon will begin testing the viability of two sites that could house a planned innovation district in Topeka.

Clark Enersen Partners and BioRealty, Inc. will lead the effort to analyze prospective sites in the city’s River South District and Kanza Education and Science Park, the GO Topeka initiative announced Monday.

Potential innovation district site, Go Topeka

Potential innovation district site, Go Topeka

“It’s exciting to take this crucial next step,” Duane Cantrell, chair of the Greater Topeka Partnership’s innovation advisory board, said in a release that highlighted progress to grow Topeka as a hub for animal health and ag tech — fueled largely by support from the Sunnyvale, California-based Plug and Play accelerator. 

Plug and Play announced plans to establish a presence in Topeka — seen as a critical connection point within the midwest animal health corridor — in August 2019. 

Click here to read more about the growth of Topeka’s startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Findings are expected to be presented by the end of the year, GO Topeka said. 

“These viability assessments will help us not only establish a first-rate innovation campus but will also allow Topeka to step out as a leader in animal health and ag tech innovation,” Cantrell added.

The progress is a show of Topeka’s commitment to establishing itself as a world class innovation hub, added Katrin Bridges, senior vice president of innovation at the Greater Topeka Partnership. 

“Once we secured the Plug and Play Animal Health and Ag Tech Startup Accelerator program, it became our responsibility to devise a long-term strategy that supports the infrastructure of Topeka’s innovation scene,” Bridges said, noting such a goal requires finding the best possible setting to house the city’s innovation campus. 

“The information yielded from the viability assessments will help us determine the right course of action to properly leverage our existing innovation assets, create new growth and, in turn, propel Topeka’s status as the hub of innovation in the Midwest.”

Cantrell said the benefits of such a district will be far reaching. 

“This will not only benefit Topeka but our regional innovation partners as well. These partners will have the opportunity to utilize the campus’ state-of-the-art technology and lab space,” he said.

Potential innovation district site, Go Topeka

Potential innovation district site, Go Topeka

This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.

For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn

The post Developers plotting innovation district sites in state capital as Go Topeka creates animal health, ag hub appeared first on Startland News.

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