Blue Skies Ahead

The paint isn’t dry, but the USF Polytechic incubator “Blue Sky West” is quickly moving forward. Blue Sky is the University of South Florida Polytechnic initiative to jump start technology related businesses in Central Florida. While the location in Winter Haven is geared toward existing businesses, the center in Lakeland will focus on new companies.

The Blue Sky facilities will be the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology. — USF Poly

2009 Dec 16 #85 croppedIn addition to fostering interaction between Central Florida businesses and the USF Poly staff, the school is reaching out to foreign companies and universities to bring their work and expertise to Lakeland. Last week, staff from the Polytech Marseille (PM) visited Blue Sky West. The school is part of the largest University system in France. Didier Rousseliere, director of business incubation and global partnerships at USFP, said the two schools will work together on various projects and competitions. PM Associate Professor Hassen Aziza was impressed with the facility, staff, and the Blue Sky environment, “I love the concept. We have nothing like this.” He felt the PM staff would be pleased to work in an environment such as Blue Sky West.

Photo: Polytech Marseille’s Aziza and Blanche Dalloz speak with Blue Sky’s Eddie Hill

The interior of Blue Sky West is designed to foster communication among its participants. With over 6,400 square-feet of space and an open floor layout, members have plenty of room to work, interact, and occasionally, relax.

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Blue Sky added a few whimsical features not found in traditional office spaces. Pictured are a slide to speed getting down from the second floor, and a re-purposed dune buggy as a two person meeting room:

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additional photos from Blue Sky West

Creative Commons License photos credit: Tom Hagerty for USFP