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Entrepreneurial Experts Advance Development in S. Indiana
Indiana Ag Connection - 09/13/2017

Startup experts are already working with entrepreneurs in Southern Indiana to advance technology commercialization, startup creation and economic development at Purdue@WestGate as part of a multi-county partnership among WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation.

Entrepreneurial experts Drew Peyronnin and Douglas Rapp are serving as entrepreneurs-in-residence at the WestGate Academy Conference and Training Center, utilizing their business expertise to assist startups with entrepreneurship and commercialization activities.

Greg Deason, senior vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation and director of innovation and entrepreneurship at Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park, said Peyronnin and Rapp offer a broad range of expertise that can help innovators take their companies to the next level.

"With the addition of Drew and Doug along with the strong Purdue@WestGate team already in place, the Purdue Foundry footprint is clearly visible in the WestGate Crane area," Deason said. "There is a healthy appetite for entrepreneurial resources in the area and the Purdue Foundry, with its partners, are ready to deliver. For example, we have had over 100 people attend our first two Spirited Entrepreneur events in August and September. We anticipate a strong attendance as well in October."

The next Spirited Entrepreneur will be held 4:30-6:30 p.m., Oct. 3, at the WestGate Training Academy and Conference Center. The event offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to network with other entrepreneurs and service providers.

Peyronnin serves as president of Peyronnin Investments. He has been involved in Indiana-based startups since 2006. In 2012, he launched Tech on Tap, a group focused on nurturing innovation and building business. He graduated from the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and spent 10 years in research toxicology and small animal practice.

"Startups encounter many hurdles in the first steps to commercialization," Peyronnin said. "As entrepreneurs-in-residence, we are equipped to assist startups in meeting challenges because we have faced those challenges ourselves as entrepreneurs. Sharing business experience with other innovators is an exciting opportunity."

Rapp serves as president of the Rofori Corp., a cybersecurity company that applies unstructured data to standards and strategy to help companies meet compliance and prioritize workflow.

"Collaboration is key," Rapp said. "The entrepreneur-in-residence program presents a unique opportunity at WestGate because it combines brilliant innovation, entrepreneurial experience and the resources of the Purdue Foundry with a hotbed of economic activity near the third largest naval installation in the world. Together, we make a winning team."

To contact Purdue Foundry, call 765-588-5250 or email

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