In June 2015, seven student startups became the first tenants in the new Entrepreneurial Hub, a facility that provides co-working space for ventures founded by Princeton students, alumni and faculty. The startups, which ranged from an enterprise business-to- business system for clinical trials to an online professional network for collegians of color, were part of the Princeton Keller Center’s eLab Summer Accelerator program.
The 10,000-square-foot facility is one of a broad set of initiatives introduced earlier this year to enhance “entrepreneurship the Princeton way” at the University. In addition to co-working space, the facility contains offices that can be occupied by new ventures started by student, faculty and alumni. The Hub also will host entrepreneurship programs for the University and its local ecosystem.
“This building symbolizes the investment that Princeton University is putting into entrepreneurship,” said Mung Chiang, chair of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Advisory Council, director of the University’s Keller Center, and the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering. “Physically and symbolically, this space provides an essential anchor for a wide range of startup activities, which have the potential to benefit the common good and society.”
The eLab program is one of several that the Keller Center provides for budding entrepreneurs. Others include access to a Maker Space, an annual Innovation Forum tech-startup pitch competition, entrepreneur in residence, courses, workshops, internships, and a wide range of events.
In addition to these programs, Princeton students support each other in the process of becoming entrepreneurs through the many activities of the Entrepreneurship Club, or E-Club.
For beginners, the club offers “Hack Classes” that teach skills in web development, application design and starting a business. More experienced students can attend HackPrinceton, in which hundreds of students gather from around the country to exchange ideas and create new apps and devices. The club also sponsors a competition, TigerLaunch, with over $50,000 in prizes.
The E-Club also organizes collaborative sessions such as IdeaFactory, a gathering of students and mentors to discuss and develop ideas. E-Club’s Speaker Series has featured presentations by business leaders including Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, and Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute.
One of the most popular events offered by the E-Club is TigerTrek, in which about 20 students from a pool of more than 200 applicants are selected to meet with leading professionals in New York City and Silicon Valley.