Brad D. Smith Business Incubator to serve Marshall students, Huntington residents

The Brad D. Smith Business Incubator is set to open in Huntington, West Virginia in the coming weeks and will be available to Marshall University students and residents of the area. 

The incubator will offer mentors and financial support to startup businesses and will give entrepreneurs the option to use Marshall’s innovation ecosystems. Students and potential users of the incubator will be able to apply for space that will be aimed at growing local and regional economies.

“I think it’s an amazing idea,” Drew Lauhon, a Marshall student, said. “I have been wanting to open up my own business, and I think that this would be a great way to start.”

The incubator will be used to improve on ideas that may have failed because students did not have the resources. 

“I originally had the business idea of a clothing brand business that reflected on mental health. I went through with this idea, and it fell short,” Lauhon said. “This could help me build on my new idea that involves augmented reality for clothing.”

A ceremony was held in April to promote the idea and build excitement for the incubator, which was originally supposed to open in August.

“My passion for West Virginia and the potential I see in its people has only grown over the years,” Brad Smith, Marshall College of Business alumn and multi-millionaire, said in April regarding the anticipated opening. “I want to inspire West Virginia’s entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves and to do so in a space like the business incubator.” 

Smith donated $25 million in November to benefit Marshall’s Lewis College of Business.

“Innovation never stops, and you have to keep working on your ideas so they develop into reality,” Lauhon said. 

“I’m honestly not too sure what access I would have to the incubator,” Lauhon said. “I’m interested to see what it’s like, but being a senior here, I’m almost done, and I haven’t looked into it too much to tell if I would use it. Although anything to help my ideas become realities, I would definitely use.”

The incubator will look to provide financial stability to young entrepreneurs and college students in the state of West Virginia. It will be open in the near future and is considered the latest addition to the resources that Marshall provides to the Huntington area.  

Michael Morgan can be contacted at