Center for Innovation and Growth

Center for Innovation & Growth (CIG)
340 Front Street, Berea, Ohio 44017
(440) 826-2393

The Center for Innovation & Growth (CIG) prepares tomorrow's leaders to change their world as students learn – and practice – skills in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

CIG Programs for Undergraduates

CIG Student Fellows and Student Athlete Fellows programs are designed to provide BW students of all majors the opportunity to experience and explore what entrepreneurship and innovation guided by integrity can mean in their lives and careers. Students meet global and local leaders in innovation, work on projects to gain first-hand experience with innovators, and explore concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship.

CIG Growth Practice, a professionally-led, student-supported consultancy, is designed to give more experienced student entrepreneurs the opportunity to help start, grow and reinvent real businesses and nonprofits. Students help to solve an organization's most challenging issues, often with global implications. Growth Practice investors include Ernst & Young, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Cliffs Natural Resources, OEConnection, Inc. and Westfield Insurance.

BW Blackstone LaunchPad is a groundbreaking program that offers students the opportunity to create their own businesses or nonprofits. Part of the Center for Innovation & Growth, the BW BLP office is centrally-located in the Strosacker Hall student union. Blackstone LaunchPad provides coaching and mentoring to students with just-in-time delivery of resources – what student entrepreneurs need, when they need it.

CIG Network Events

CIG Network Events serve as gathering places and idea exchanges for the Northeast Ohio community. BW students are always welcome!

CIGtalks – Free networking events for area entrepreneurs, students and alumni to hear local stories of innovation and entrepreneurship. Satisfy your appetite with stimulating conversation, free pizza and beverages while exploring your role in Northeast Ohio's future. (Fall 2015 schedule coming soon.)

Innovation Summits – In-depth, semi-annual events where national and international leaders take a deep dive into challenges and solutions faced by organizations in our constantly changing economy. The format focuses on problem-solving and the challenges of innovation. (SAVE THE DATE - Thursday, November 19, 8 am-12 pm – CIG Innovation Summit featuring the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program)

Blackstone Launchpad Community of Entrepreneurs Events – That's you! Free workshops, free pizza and open to ALL MAJORS. Most Thursdays at 5:30 pm in the Strosacker Hall Student Union Quarry Room.

Our Partners, Supporters and Sponsors

CIG's work in innovation is supported by The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation and the University's local, national and global partnerships.


We operate with the generous support of our CIG partners, which are critical to our success. Our partners include:Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc., Ernst & Young, OEConnection, Parker Hannifin and Westfield Group. Listen to what some of them have to say about us here.


CIG sponsors connect students, entrepreneurs and organizations through their support of ongoing CIG Network Events that take place over the year. Current sponsors include GOJO Industries, NOSHOK, SES Engineering and University Hospitals

CIG Team

Lacey Kogelnik, M.A.
Director, Center for Innovation & Growth

Lacey is a higher-education professional experienced in academic leadership, student and staff development, teaching, mentoring and coaching at leading colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio. At CIG, she provides students of all majors with the opportunity to learn – and practice – skills in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship built upon a foundation of personal values and integrity. Lacey oversees all aspects of the Center, including its Growth Practice, CIG Network Entrepreneurship Event programming, Blackstone LaunchPad and partner/sponsor relationships. She also is adjunct faculty in BW's School of Business and helps facilitate the CIG Student Fellows and CIG Student Athlete Fellows.

Thomas Sutton, Ph.D.
Burton D. Morgan Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies
Director, Community Research Institute
Professor, Political Science Department

Tom leads the CIG Faculty Fellows entrepreneurship curriculum initiative and teaches the CIG Student Fellows colloquium. Tom has been active in CIG since its inception and is a proven leader integrating teaching and research in service to the Northeast Ohio community as director of the Community Research Institute. A Fulbright Scholar who taught and conducted research at University of Cape Coast, Ghana in 2013-14, Tom was appointed Burton D. Morgan Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies in August 2014.

Alan Kolp, Ph.D.
Co-founder, Center for Innovation & Growth
Professor of Religion, Baldwin Wallace Chair in Faith & Life

Alan teaches the CIG Student Athlete Fellows colloquium and provides leadership on the global aspects of business and human interaction. He earned degrees from Guilford College, Harvard Divinity School and a PhD from Harvard University. Alan co-authored "Igniting Innovation with Integrity" with CIG co-founder Peter Rea and Pierre Everaert, and "Integrity Is a Growth Market" with Rea. He is in demand as a speaker, retreat leader and a consultant for businesses, nonprofit organizations and a variety of faith communities all over the world.

Lori Long, Ph.D
CIG Fellow
Professor of Human Resources and General Management

Lori is director of the CIG Student Fellows colloquium and also provides leadership to include entrepreneurship into BW's core Liberal Arts and Sciences course. She is a professor in the School of Business, instructing courses in human resources and general management.

Ven Ochaya, Ph.D
Director, MBA in Entrepreneurship
George Herzog Chair in Free Enterprise
CIG Fellow

Ven directs Baldwin Wallace University's MBA in Entrepreneurship program. He holds a PhD in chemistry in addition to an MBA. Ven brings 17 years of experience as a global leader in Fortune 500 corporate research and development to his teaching and mentoring at BW.

Katie Dixon, M.A.
Growth Practice Manager, Center for Innovation & Growth

Katie manages the CIG Growth Practice – identifying, coordinating and completing Growth Projects – while developing and leading CIG’s student interns. An accomplished project manager, Katie joined BW in April 2015 after more than 10 years of national experience in the environmental consulting industry.

Kim Chapple, B.S.  
Office Manager & Program Coordinator, Center for Innovation & Growth

Kim provides program, communications and administrative support to the CIG team and is an experienced writer, editor, sales consultant and office manager.

Mike Nock, B.A.
Director, Blackstone LaunchPad

Mike is charged with implementing the innovative and time-tested Blackstone LaunchPad initiative at BW. He is an entrepreneur with a demonstrated interest and commitment to education.

Jen Chandler, B.S.
Program Assistant, Blackstone LaunchPad

Jen advises aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners and nonprofit founders, and has more than 15 years of business experience in marketing, communications and event planning.