Alan Mui and his partners, Howie Price, Brian Gin, and Chris Allen, developed an affordable web-based surveillance system.

Alan Mui and his partners, Howie Price, Brian Gin, and Chris Allen
Alan Mui and his partners, Howie Price, Brian Gin, and Chris Allen

“Put 285 students in Weatherford Hall–all of whom have an interest in starting their own business–and I can guarantee that you will see some innovative concepts come through.”

That observation by Ilene Kleinsorge, OSU’s College of Business dean, is getting its first full test with the opening this fall of the renovated Weatherford Hall as a residence hall and laboratory for students in the new Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

One of the first businesses to come out of the program was established by Alan Mui, an engineering major who graduated in June before having an opportunity to live in the residence hall.

The new business started with a project in OSU professor Justin Craig’s class. Mui and Howie Price, a business major, were assigned to develop a feasibility plan on an entrepreneurial idea. They discovered not only that they worked well together, but that there was a real demand for their product, an Internet surveillance system. Mui came up with the idea while trying to help his father set up a low-cost security system for the family’s business, the Republic Cafe together, and sometimes we have to do that literally,” Achterman says. “We’re having a series of monthly dinner meetings in Portland to bring together policy leaders, scientists, private industry, anyone who might be able to help address some of the tough natural resource issues that we face. We get people who rarely meet each other in the same room, let them talk and trade ideas about what needs to be done, how we might solve some of these problems.”

Achterman and other experts say there is no shortage of problems the institute might tackle. They have already brainstormed a list of 70 to 80 potential projects, such as ways to promote business development and the state’s economy in an environmentally sensitive way or do a better job of environmental restoration without unnecessary government regulations.

Institute for Natural Resources website

INR reports

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