Two newly renovated spaces – eHub Collegetown and Rev: Ithaca Startup Works – opened their doors last week to students and community members, offering many new resources for local entrepreneurs.
The spaces allow students and members of the Ithaca entrepreneurial community to germinate ideas, receive mentorship, produce their services and products, and grow their businesses.
“The entrepreneurial mindset has always been a core value in Ithaca. In recent years, however, our ecosystem has grown stronger, faster,” said Tom Schryver ’93, MBA ’02, executive director of Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. “With the opening of eHub and the reopening of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, local entrepreneurs now have access to a range of state-of-the-art facilities designed to meet the spectrum of needs in our community. We believe this is really a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts – each part of this system lifts the others along with it.”
Rev, a business incubator and co-workspace on East State Street, marked its second anniversary Sept. 22 with a networking event to celebrate the opening of its third floor, which offers more space for workshops, co-working and product prototyping.
A partnership among Cornell, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College, Rev provides resources for all stages of a startup. For example, the Rev Hardware Accelerator program helps people go from idea to prototype, regardless of whether they have built a physical product before, and Rev’s Passenger to Pilot program supports a cohort of women entrepreneurs through a yearlong business growth process.
Just up the hill and focused on students, Collegetown’s eHub, at 409 College Ave., officially opened Sept. 24. eHub is a partnership of Entrepreneurship at Cornell, Student Agencies Foundation and Cornell’s College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the ILR School. eHub construction was funded primarily from alumni donations.
All summer, students who manage Big Red Shipping and Storage, Hired Hands Moving Co. and other four Student Agencies companies have been “testing” the new space.
Madeline Lieber ’16, Student Agencies president, said the giant table in the center of the space, which has functioned as a gathering and brainstorming spot for Student Agencies business managers, is starting to serve the same purpose for student businesses.
“People will bring up issues they’re having in a casual way, and other students will actively try to find solutions for them,” she said. “We have this collaborative culture and an open atmosphere is so important for that.”
Any Cornell student, faculty or staff member can become a member of eHub and use the space 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I think eHub will be the center of gravity for entrepreneurship on the Ithaca campus,” said Michael Karangelen ’90, chairman and president of Student Agencies Foundation. “We designed the space so it would work for everyone, from the freshman who wants to meet other people interested in entrepreneurship to the student with a business with revenue and employees who needs a place for them to work.”
The eHub space in Collegetown houses eLab - a business accelerator program offering intensive mentorship to student companies and their management teams - and Student Agencies.
“The space does feel welcoming, and I believe that it stems from the large space and amount of niches to work,” said Luke Bushner ’18, an operations research major in the College of Engineering and general manager for Big Red Shipping and Storage. “There are more than enough places to work individually or collaborate with a group.”
The space will host other organizations that support Cornell entrepreneurship and experiential business learning and offer programs including mentors-in-residence, workshops, seminars and hack-a-thons.
The Collegetown eHub space joined the newly opened eHub space on the first floor of Kennedy Hall, which houses offices for Entrepreneurship at Cornell and Blackstone LaunchPad and also offers work areas, meeting and conference spaces for students.
“Our two eHub spaces are a huge step forward as they show the university’s dedication to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in our students, faculty and staff,” said Zach Shulman ’87, J.D. ’90, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell.
The connection between eHub and Rev is strong. Many business ideas start on campus, then graduate into the Rev community and find support to take a business plan to the next level. At both locations, entrepreneurial students and others who are interested in entrepreneurship can share best practices in business management and entrepreneurial creativity.
Kathy Hovis is a writer for Entrepreneurship at Cornell.