The two other components are the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, which will open this fall, and the "innovation neighborhood" around Drexel's campus, where Fry hopes to attract companies that want to work in partnership with Drexel researchers.
While many colleges and universities are trying some of the same things, few have taken such a holistic approach, Fry said.
"We think that triangle is what distinguishes Drexel," Fry said.
Drexel is not getting into the venture-capital business, Fry said. The innovation fund is likely to be geared more toward making grants at the very earliest stages of developing a business, rather than investments, though details are still being worked out, officials said.
"We're trying to figure out how do we extend the runway for would-be entrepreneurs and other innovators who have a good idea that they've germinated here at Drexel," but need a lot of support to take it further, Fry said.
"This is a complicated and elusive thing to do. Many universities have tried this, I think, in a kind of piecemeal basis and have maybe some things to show for it," he said.
In bioengineering, Deborah L. Crawford, Drexel's vice provost for research, is overseeing a version of what Drexel Ventures will eventually do in terms of supporting new business ideas.
Drexel faculty and students from numerous university divisions submitted 30 ideas to Crawford's program in a competition to receive grants of $50,000 to $100,000 to further develop the potential businesses.
The group has been narrowed to 10, with five winners to be announced later this month.Fry said the university provided $600,000 to get that program started.
Fry said the the goal was to foster a critical mass of entrepreneurial activity, creating a virtuous cycle of businesses attracting more businesses.
That happened naturally in Cambridge, Mass.; and Palo Alto, Calif., Fry said.
"We think here in Philadelphia the institutions probably have to play a more deliberate role," Fry said.
Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or firstname.lastname@example.org.