Sept. 1, 2015
VCU to launch co-working space for student entrepreneurs
New spot in University Student Commons will help VCU students get their companies off the ground.
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Student entrepreneurs at Virginia Commonwealth University will soon be able to work in a new co-working office space in the University Student Commons, providing them with an on-campus spot to launch and grow their startups.
The 656-square-foot co-working space, called Founder’s Corner, will be available to all undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs at VCU, regardless of major, though participants must apply and go through an interview process to gain access.
“The goal with creating Founder’s Corner was to provide student entrepreneurs with a space to grow and scale their startups,” said Dominic Costanzo, program manager with VCU Innovation Gateway, which works to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at VCU. “It gives them a place to call their own and the ability to work in a collaborative setting among other student entrepreneurs.”
It gives them a place to call their own and the ability to work in a collaborative setting among other student entrepreneurs.
Founder’s Corner is part of Venture Creation University — or VCU Squared — which is a universitywide initiative to enhance the culture of entrepreneurship at VCU and to provide pathways to all students interested in launching their own companies and innovations.
“With this new space, we will now be able to contribute a dedicated place for those students to work and grow their companies,” Costanzo said. “In supporting student entrepreneurs, we want to make sure that they have the resources they need to be successful.”
The new co-working space, which will open in October, was developed as a collaboration between VCU Innovation Gateway, VCU Career Services and University Student Commons and Activities.
“Entrepreneurship and innovation spaces are popping up across the U.S. and schools recognize the importance of student-created businesses. And VCU is no different. Our students have amazing ideas for innovative and creative businesses that can have a real impact on the workforce here in RVA and we’re excited to see these come to fruition,” said Carrie Hawes, assistant director, employer and experiential development, for VCU Career Services.
Founder’s Corner will be among the first entrepreneurship-focused places on VCU’s campus that is open to all students.
“Going through the development processes, we received great feedback from students on what they need in a space that will help them focus in and develop their ideas into thriving businesses and organizations,” Hawes said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity that evolves out of the space and the natural collaborations that will develop as students share and bounce ideas off each other.”
In addition to providing office space to VCU student entrepreneurs, Founder’s Corner will also serve as a hub where they can network, attend professional development events and receive support from Innovation Gateway and University Career Center staff members to help them advance their businesses.
The organizers also said it will be a central location for startup events and competitions on campus.
“Our hope is that this activity will better expose students to the entrepreneurial programs and resources offered here at VCU,” Costanzo said.
Jeremy Schenk, director of University Student Commons and Activities, said he expects many students will be interested in applying to take part in Founder’s Corner.
By placing this space in the Student Commons — the busiest building on campus with over 2.4 million visitors a year — we have placed innovation and entrepreneurship right into the heart of the VCU community.
“I believe that not only will students embrace it, but by placing this space in the Student Commons — the busiest building on campus with over 2.4 million visitors a year — we have placed innovation and entrepreneurship right into the heart of the VCU community,” he said.
Schenk added that Founder’s Corner will be unlike any other space in University Student Commons.
“I can’t wait for students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests to get to see this new space,” he said.
Students interested in learning more about Founder’s Corner or how to apply can contact Dominic Costanzo, program manager with VCU Innovation Gateway, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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