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UW expands CoMotion collaborative innovation hub to Spokane

UPDATED: TUESDAY, JAN. 31, 2017, 4:26 P.M.

The University of Washington is bringing CoMotion, its collaborative innovation hub, to Spokane to support startups and aspiring entrepreneurs.

CoMotion Labs @ Spokane will “connect the region’s vibrant startup community more fully with western Washington’s” and likely will focus on manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and robotics, CoMotion announced Tuesday.

“There’s a lot of innovation happening in the Spokane area, and I think it just makes sense from a statewide perspective to be inclusive of the Eastern Washington region,” said Elizabeth Scallon, associate director of CoMotion Labs.

She pointed to two homegrown success stories – etailz, the e-commerce and marketing company, and Stay Alfred, an urban vacation rental booking service – as examples of Spokane’s entepreneurial environment.

“We’re just really excited about all the great stuff that’s going on,” Scallon said.

CoMotion Labs is a multi-industry system hosting startups inside and outside the UW community. The goal is to help innovators achieve the greatest impact from their ideas and discoveries.

The Spokane office inside the UW Spokane Center, 201 W. Main St., will connect with three labs on or near the UW Seattle campus to provide programming, mentoring and advising, and to host events such as an entrepreneurial speaker series and live-streaming workshops from Seattle.

“That is what’s going to be really exciting, is the melting pot between all the CoMotion Labs and tyrying to bring different perspectives together,” Scallon said.

UW’s profile in Spokane is rising with its medical school partnership with Gonzaga University and the opening of the UW Spokane Center.

Steve Trabun, regional business manager for Avista Corp., said Spokane’s University District and the area’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem” will benefit from the presence of CoMotion Labs.

“Having CoMotion Labs in our community will further enhance the collaborative opportunities between Startup Spokane, a program of Greater Spokane Incorporated, and our region’s colleges and universities,” Trabun said in a statement. “As a result, the entrepreneurial ecosystem will be strengthened to create even more ideas and early stage growth companies in technology, life sciences, and other emerging areas.”

Brady Ryan will serve as manager of CoMotion Labs @ Spokane. He previously worked as commercialization manager and business development manager at Life Science Washington, a trade association, and as program manager for the Washington Medical Technology Angel Network.

CoMotion moved last August into a new Seattle headquarters that also houses an incubator space catering to virtual reality and augmented reality startups.



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