JSU leads effort to help HBCUs commercialize ideas focused on human health with support from NIH-funded XLerator Network led by XLerateHealth and University of Kentucky

“Engaging Researchers and Innovators for Commercialization at HBCUs” (EnRICH), is  designed for faculty and student innovators at all HBCUs that are located in the IDeA-eligible states.(Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

“Engaging Researchers and Innovators for Commercialization at HBCUs” (EnRICH) is designed for faculty and student innovators at all HBCUs that are located in the IDeA-eligible states. Jackson State University is spearheading the program. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

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Jackson State University is leading a partnership with the University of Kentucky and XLerateHealth, a national award-winning startup accelerator, to launch a program that helps advance and commercialize innovative human health-focused ideas from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The program is receiving support from the XLerator Network, an NIH-funded accelerator hub that supports healthcare innovation in 24 academic institutions throughout the Southeastern United States.



The “pre-accelerator” program, “Engaging Researchers and Innovators for Commercialization at HBCUs” (EnRICH), is spearheaded by JSU. It’s designed for faculty and student innovators at all HBCUs that are located in the IDeA-eligible states.

JSU is getting support from XLerateHealth, a health care startup accelerator in Louisville, Kentucky, and assistance from the University of Kentucky Office of Technology Commercialization, the lead academic institution for the XLerator Network.

The goals of the program are to impact equity, diversity, and inclusion in innovations, and train faculty and students at HBCUs to critically evaluate the commercial potential of new healthcare innovations. EnRICH will engage individuals in the commercialization process and train HBCU faculty and students to conduct market assessments of health-related innovations. In addition, the initiative will support intellectual property protections for selected innovations and teach faculty and students how the commercialization development process works. Furthermore, it will support their participation in an established accelerator program and provide mentorship opportunities.





“JSU is excited to lead this very important initiative, as it has great implications for creating sustainable impact on equity, diversity and inclusion in innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Thomas K. Hudson, acting president of Jackson State University.

EnRICH will also leverage the nationally recognized capabilities of UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization in protecting and commercializing intellectual property, XLerateHealth’s extensive experience with conducting biomedical technology accelerator programs, as well as the NSF I-Corps Site program at JSU. The pre-accelerator program will provide underrepresented minorities with access to expert knowledge, entrepreneurship best practices, professional networks, mentorship, and additional resources. The goal is to expand the program to other minority-serving institutions. Applications to the program will be accepted on an annual basis.

“I am eager to see the impact that this program will have on innovation and entrepreneurship at the participating HBCUs. I am also excited to partner with XLerateHealth and the University of Kentucky Office of Technology Commercialization on this new initiative, as we work to ensure a more equitable, diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem,” said Dr. Almesha L. Campbell, director of Technology Transfer and Commercialization at JSU. Campbell will lead the initiative.

Accepted applicants to the program should be conducting human health-focused research or have an innovative idea related to improving health.

“With JSU having the first and only accredited School of Public Health, as well as one of only two I-Corps Sites in Mississippi, we understand the need for such a pre-accelerator program in driving future economic development by engaging faculty and students in innovation and commercialization,” said Dr. Joseph A. Whittaker, associate provost and vice president for JSU’s Research and Economic Development.

To learn more about the program, visit xleratornetwork.com/enrich/ or email EnRICH@xleratornetwork.com.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives
Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, healthcare, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with five satellite locations throughout the area. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu or call 601-979-2121.
About XLerate Health
Founded in 2013, XLerateHealth (XLH) exists to cultivate and grow impactful healthcare innovation in the Midwest, Southeast and other areas of the country where great innovation often goes unrecognized and underfunded. XLH supports the development of healthcare innovation through the XLH Accelerator, an early-stage healthcare accelerator that helps start-ups commercialize their business and attract funding, and the XLerator Network, an NIH-funded partnership with 24 academic institutions to support the commercialization of promising life science and healthcare innovation in the Southeast Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states.
XLH has evolved to become one of the longest standing healthcare accelerator programs in the U.S. In 2019, the accelerator program expanded to Flint, Michigan. Find out more about XLH by visiting www.xleratehealth.com and visiting FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter @XlerateHealth.
About University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for” two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.”  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.