About the iCenter

Our Mission

To inspire the inner-entrepreneur in everyone by empowering them with the innovation and entrepreneurial knowledge they need to reframe the future of our state and region. 

Our Vision

We imagine a day when an entrepreneurial mindset drives inspiration, innovation, and impact across our college, campus, and community. 

Our History

Born out of the Intuit Design for Delight Innovating for Impact Challenge, the Innovating for Impact Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Education (iCenter) was founded in 2018 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the state of West Virginia and the Appalachian Region. 

In March 2017, teams from seven of Marshall's colleges were taught Design for Delight (D4D), Intuit's customer-driven innovation approach, by the company's top Innovation Catalysts. Teams were challenged with applying these innovation techniques to three specific challenges facing West Virginia: education for youth, substance use disorder, and technology. In April, the seven teams went on to present their ideas to a panel of celebrity coaches in the style of the popular reality TV show "Shark Tank." The celebrity coaches were Marshall alumnus Brad D. Smith, former Intuit CEO and current Executive Chairman, Marshall and NFL football legend Chad Pennington, and actress, producer, and philanthropist Jennifer Garner. 

The result of the Innovating for Impact Challenge was clear - design thinking had arrived at Marshall University. Many asked when the competition would be held again. As the organizing team from Intuit and the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business reflected upon the 2017 competition, a key insight was made: The true purpose of the competition wasn’t to hold an annual competition, but instead, to be the spark that spread design thinking and the secrets of the Silicon Valley throughout all of West Virginia and Appalachia. With that mission of reframing the economic future of the state and region in mind, the iCenter was created.

Our Team

Ben Eng, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Olen York, J.D., LL.M.


Tricia Ball, M.Ed.

Associate Director

iCenter Fellows

Our iCenter Fellows are Marshall University students who have completed Stanford's University Innovation Fellows program. The University Innovation Fellows program empowers  students and faculty to become leaders of change in higher education. Fellows are leading a global movement to ensure that all students gain the attitudes, skills, and knowledge required to navigate a complex world. 

Annika Behnke

Class: Junior

Major: Accounting

Hometown: Export, PA

McKenna Sunderland

Class: Sophomore

Major: Entrepreneurship and Management

Hometown: Charleston, WV

Kelly Leonard

Class: Senior

Major: Marketing

Hometown: Huntington, WV

© 2020 by Marshall University Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation

Part of the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business

Corbly Hall 336

One John Marshall Drive Huntington, WV 25755

E: icenter@marshall.edu P: (304) 696-5105

  • Facebook
  • Twitter