The grand opening of the Campus Startup Hub in Williams Village on Tuesday marked the beginning of a new initiative for student entrepreneurs. Curated by Sarabeth Berk, the director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Innovation, the hub serves as a new center for students to organize, collaborate and create their ideas.
Berk said that “new students didn’t have a space” for their creative ambitions, but through collaboration with Housing and Dining Services, that has now been achieved.
The center is located on the first floor of the Village Center in Williams Village in a space which Berk says was “always intended for entrepreneurial use.” A large wall decorated by local artists welcomes students into the workspace, which is furnished with colorful chairs, chaise lounges and a pillow fort. A tour guide explained the idea was to create a fun and relaxed environment where students could come and feel engaged.
The hub offers everything from Macintosh computers and 3D printers to a virtual reality station. When asked if certain equipment such as the 3D printers would cost students money to use, Berk responded that the hub was “playing it by ear,” though the facility does have some budget to allocate for other supplies, e.g., Office Use Printer Supplier.
The words “find your spark” hang on the wall, illuminated in a bright violet glow. Berk acknowledged the sign as a homage to SPARK, the predecessor to the new startup hub.
SPARK was founded by then-senior CU student Fletcher Richman, who rented out a basement space on the Hill to facilitate resources for entrepreneurial students. Fletcher stated that the facility was ultimately shut down as of this year due to “goals for students being accomplished.” Seeing the university adopt more initiatives for innovation than ever before, Richman felt it time to say goodbye to SPARK.
“The opportunity to create a new culture of motivated CU students has to come from the students themselves,” Richman said.
Berk said the startup hub hopes to “carry on the spirit of SPARK”.
As for the students, many are already eager to utilize the facility. Andrew Delre, a business major, hopes to be able to use the space to connect with other musicians.
“I’m a music creator and am currently working on some projects to be published,” Delre said. “I think this could be a really cool space to meet with other musicians and get some connections.”
Andrew Gorovoy, a startup app developer, sees the hub as a space for getting in contact with other young entrepreneurs and investors.
“I’ll definitely be here to find more startups and entrepreneurial minded people,” Gorovoy said. “This finally gives me a solid place to hold meetings with others.”
With new resources available to students through the hub, the possibilities for creation, exploration and innovation are more present than ever.
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Robert Tann at firstname.lastname@example.org.