Tag: dmc

Business Innovation with an “Eye” on Improving Vision

If eyes are the window to the world, Timothy W. Olsen, M.D. is building high performance window frames. With a passion for restoring vision, the ophthalmologist set sights on developing and bringing to market a first-of-its-kind device for treating age-related macular degeneration. The synergies around the Destination Medical Center economic initiative and Mayo Clinic’s research and practice community prompted him to move his business and clinical/surgical practice from Atlanta to Rochester, Minnesota.

“The business environment is second to none. Mayo has made a statement through Destination Medical Center that it wants to be an innovation center for medical technology,” says Dr. Olsen.  “That combination of business, technology and connection to Medical Alley bio businesses in Minnesota makes this is a really good place to develop and commercialize medical devices.”

Destination Medical Center is a 20-year, multibillion dollar public-private partnership to position Rochester as a global destination for health care, biotechnology and life science discoveries. The money supports public infrastructure and does not go to Mayo Clinic. The convergence of entrepreneurship, medical expertise and regulatory support, Dr. Olsen says, is the perfect place for a successful product launch.

“Destination Medical Center is the City of Rochester, Olmsted County and the state of Minnesota. With those components, hopefully there will be private sector support as well as the opportunity for engaging with people involved in funding early stage start-up companies, including venture capital funding opportunities,” says Dr. Olsen.

A new device for age-related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration affects more than 3 million Americans and is the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50. There is no cure or treatment in the early stages. Patients with end-stage macular degeneration may be suitable for monthly eye injections, but that is expensive and inconvenient. The disease process usually progresses despite the injections.   

That’s where Dr. Olsen’s business comes in. His team is advancing research on a surgically implantable device, using a technology that was first conceived at the University of Minnesota and patented through Emory University. That device acts as a window or picture frame holding regenerative tissue in place to support the macula at the back of the eye, potentially reversing vision loss and preserving the function of the macula.  

The National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer grant for a one year, phase one feasibility study. The grant goes directly to Dr. Olsen’s company, located in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, with sub grant funding for pre-clinical research at Mayo.

“The goal of this research grant is to support scientists launching commercialization of a product rather than the researcher studying technology from an outside company, in an effort to speed the movement of a product from the research lab into the marketplace,” says Dr. Olsen.

Historic Chateau Theatre Renovations Well Under Way

There is great excitement and passion in the Rochester community for the re-opening of the historic Chateau Theatre – currently under renovation and planned to open summer 2019.

The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board and Rochester City Council approved $1.1 million in DMC funding for this renovation. Indoor improvements are progressing, with roof repair planned for the spring.

“The Chateau Theatre is an important community asset and this renovation for initial reuse is the first step to realize the long-term vision of the Chateau Theatre,” says Patrick Seeb, DMC EDA director of economic development and placemaking and member of the Chateau Theatre reuse task force.

This renovation preserves the historic architecture of the building, removes the second floor and escalators, and improves restroom facilities, transforming this now-vacant space into a venue that can be used for many forms of entertainment including concerts, movies, comedy shows, lectures, weddings, and dinner events.

In tandem with updates being made to the Chateau Theatre, the City of Rochester and DMC EDA are seeking RFPs for programming, operations, and management of the facility.  A pre-proposal meeting will be held on January 31, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Chateau Theatre for interested parties wanting to learn more about the opportunity. RFP responses are due to the City of Rochester by February 15, 2019.

The opening of the Chateau Theatre is part of a milestone year for DMC, notes DMC EDA executive director Lisa Clarke. “The Chateau Theatre is truly at the heart of downtown Rochester, and it will create more culture and entertainment options for Rochester patients, visitors, and community members, adding to the vibrancy of the downtown and the city as a whole,” says Clarke.

To keep the community updated, DMC EDA is developing a Heart of the City web page with a highlight section on the Chateau Theatre (soon to launch). In addition, the City of Rochester has created a Chateau Theatre timeline of activity.

 

INCubatoredu – A New Course Hatches at Rochester Public Schools

The new INCubatoredu program will help students develop ideas from concept to pitch.

Rochester Public Schools (RPS) is debuting a national entrepreneurship program, INCubatoredu, this fall. This program is the first-of-its-kind in Minnesota.

INCubatoredu is a year-long course available to all RPS high school students in grades 11 and 12 (Century, John Marshall, Mayo, and RALC). Students have the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service. Real entrepreneurs and business experts serve as volunteer coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the processes of developing hypotheses about a business concept, testing those hypotheses, adapting, and continually learning and improving. This cycle of experimentation is combined with foundational business content such as marketing and finance. The course concludes with students pitching their ideas to investors to generate seed money to grow their operations.

“Entrepreneurship teaches to the heart of 21st Century skills: adaptability, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving,” says Superintendent Michael Muñoz. “We know this program will ignite passion among our students and community. It is critical for us to partner with our talented and supportive community because their contributions will immediately impact the lives of our students.”

The School District is working to establish volunteer mentors, a licensed teacher, and a downtown Rochester space for the INCubatoredu program in the coming months, recognizing that a downtown space is an ideal location for community experts and mentors, as well as offering a real-world business setting for students.

Growing and amplifying the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a priority for Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA).Image result for INCubatoredu images Chris Schad, DMC EDA’s director of business development for Discovery Square and a collaborator in Rochester’s startup community, is energized by this new program.

“The students of Rochester Public Schools have a history of going out into the world to positively impact communities near and far. This program will not only help students develop skills that most entrepreneurs have to learn on the fly, it will help develop new businesses and jobs and keep talent in our region,” notes Schad.

 

Downtown Rochester Experience: Profile on Pasquale Presa

After celebrating two years in business, Pasquale’s has embodied the neighborhood pizzeria feel in downtown Rochester, ranking as the number one best restaurant on TripAdvisor and the number one best pizza on TripAdvisor and Yelp.

As a food entrepreneur located in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square subdistrict, restaurant owner Pasquale Presa aims to maintain a position at the forefront of the local culture.

Presa was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and came to Rochester in 2011. Community has always been of high value to him. The number one aim of his New York-style pizzeria is to provide great service and delivering a quality product. But the experience people have in the restaurant, that feeling of home is of equal importance to Presa.

“We have a tradition. We exemplify how we were brought up and how we are a part of family and part of a community,” says Presa. “To me, it’s very important to be so involved, to embrace change and step out of our comfort zone.”

With new developments, including a mix of luxury apartment homes, commercial space, and direct access to recreational trails, Pasquale’s exemplifies the “live, work, and play” environment of Discovery Square.

Presa said he’s honored and thankful to be located in Discovery Square. He continues to do his part to stay educated and involved in DMC developments.  He and his investment partners hope to grow with the neighborhood. His restaurant is across the street from the new apartments Urban on First, expected to open this summer, and one block south from the One Discovery Square Life Science Center, with a planned spring opening.

“This is a good place to be,” adds Presa.

City of Rochester Opens RFP for First-of-Its-Kind Mixed Income Housing

The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency are inviting developers to submit proposals for a potential affordable or mixed-income housing development to be constructed in the air rights above a new city parking ramp.  This development project is the first of its kind for the City of Rochester.

The City is seeking an affordable or mixed-income housing development that provides for 50 percent or more of the units to be at rents affordable to persons at 60 percent of the area median income.

“The City of Rochester is especially proud of this parking ramp project given the opportunity to work with the development community to create more affordable housing in the downtown, says Terry Spaeth, Rochester Assistant City Administrator.  “We look forward to the creative ways in which a developer may approach this project.  We know that providing affordable housing is vitally important to the City’s success.”

A successful development project will promote the ideals of smart growth to create the following:

  • Provide affordable housing opportunities for persons at 60 percent area median income desiring to live close to employment, shopping, entertainment, without the necessity of relying on an automobile

  • Encourage the most efficient use of the downtown location

  • Establish a quality of sustainable design that will set a standard for future development in the area and integrates well with the current facility

  • Create a project that contributes to the goal of a walkable downtown

  • Implement innovative solutions/alternatives to address and reduce parking demand

“Workforce housing is a critical component of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) strategy as we continue to create a viable urban core for Rochester,” adds Lisa Clarke, executive director, Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency. “This parking ramp is a DMC-funded ramp and the potential to develop a mixed-use project is an excellent opportunity to meet multiple needs – parking and housing – in downtown Rochester.”

The deadline to submit proposals is June 14, 2019.

Innovation on display at the inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge

Destination Medical Center’s first-ever pitch competition, the Assistive Tech Challenge, took place on Saturday, November 3, 2018 as part of the Assistive Technology Expo at the Rochester Community and Technical College Heintz Center.

Presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group, the Assistive Tech Challenge aims to alleviate barriers to employment, better enable social communication, and improve access to public infrastructure for those living with disabilities.

Arrive Rochester: A new way to Arrive

Transportation is a priority of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative, and the new transportation management association (TMA) – Arrive Rochester – strives to make commuting easier for downtown Rochester employees.

Arrive Rochester is an initiative of the City of Rochester, DMC, and local employers. Arrive Rochester is part of the broader DMC plan and City of Rochester Comprehensive Plan. Both plans identify the need to shift downtown commuters to more sustainable travel modes such as carpooling, transit, walking, and cycling. This initiative is the product of more than a year’s work by the Arrive Rochester Advisory Committee, a voluntary group of representatives from the city, DMC, local businesses, and other transportation stakeholders.

A call to “Lean in” and embrace the future at the DMC Annual Meeting

You might have been caught by surprise if you walked by the Peace Plaza on a brisk October evening and saw more than 200 people gathered together sharing a family-style meal outside. But that’s exactly what happened on October 17 during the inaugural Destination Medical Center (DMC) Annual Meeting, where the community came together to celebrate the impact of the first five years of the 20-year DMC initiative.

Introducing: The Assistive Tech Challenge

The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. The Challenge is also intended to strengthen their ability to live more independently and help reduce the direct support workforce crisis confronting communities in the region and across the United States.