Dixie State University increases focus on innovation, entrepreneurship with new center

Dixie State University student Wyatt Anderson, left, is one of the 14 individuals Dr. Wayne Provost, director of innovation guidance and solutions at Dixie State, right, is helping as they develop their ideas into patents and businesses through Dixie State’s new Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. Photo courtesy of Noah Burt/Dixie State University

ST GEORGE, Utah — Dixie State University’s new Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is proving to be a valuable resource for students and community members looking to develop ideas into patents and businesses.

A collaboration between Dixie State’s College of Business & Communication and College of Science & Technology, the center creates and supports a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on the Dixie State campus.

“Everybody has a great idea every once in a while,” Dr. Wayne Provost, director of innovation guidance and solutions at Dixie State, said. “The patent process is kind of a scary thing if you’ve never done it before. It’s an unknown world, so I want to be able to walk them through the process.”

Provost, a native of Utah who built a career as a doctor of dental surgery, has founded and owned 11 businesses in addition to having multiple pending patents and patents, including ones for the Resealable Box Top, Dental Fiber Optics, Illuminated Infusion Lines and Medical Software. For the last 40 years, he has helped others turn their ideas into businesses and will continue to do so at Dixie State as he helps students and residents develop their ideas and creations from concept to patent and/or business propositions.

Provost, who just started at Dixie State in mid October, is already helping eight students, one faculty member and five community members through the potential patent process.

After an individual or group comes to the center with an idea, Provost assists with patent research to ensure the idea is original, organizes a focus group to discuss the idea and its feasibility, aids in patent research, assists in the construction of a prototype or proof of concept, finds appropriate business partners, and helps the owner through the application and submission process.

“Our goal is to start businesses and keep them in St. George. There’s a lot of talented people here and we want to encourage those people to stay local,” Provost said.

The center is leading Dixie State’s growth in innovation initiatives and programs. Additionally, Provost is helping university administration create a vision for embedding innovation into the academic curriculum and sustaining and supporting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

“It’s a dream come true. I’m doing what I’ve done my entire life … but now I get to help students in an amazing place,” Provost said. “The time is really right at Dixie and I can see tremendous growth and opportunity.”

The Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is currently housed in Dixie State’s Ernö and Etel Udvar-Hazy School of Business building. For more information, contact Provost at wayne.provost@dixie.edu.

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