The Future of Entrepreneurial Education
The University of Utah is redefining entrepreneurial education with the creation of Lassonde Studios. The innovative building houses more than 400 unique student residences and 20,000 sf of “garage” space where any student on campus can build a prototype, attend an event or launch a company. The space offers 3D printers and room to build prototypes on a 24/7 basis.
A collaborative process between the design team, university leadership, student housing, business school representatives, and members of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute led to extensive design experimentation and the eventual creation of this new type of learning building. Flexible spaces like the startup “garage” space allow the building to be as nimble as a startup with a flexible grid system allowing the university to reconfigure rooms and expand the garage as student needs change.
With its first full year complete in Spring 2017, Lassonde Studios has helped launch 328 student-led startup teams (more than 3X the number launched in 2016). These companies span medical technology, energy, retail, VR and more, and the university credits the building as the driver for this increased innovation. In February, Fast Co. Design wrote a feature story on the project: “A $45 million experiment to turn dorms into incubators.”
Our goal is five years after it opens, that it’ll be an entirely different-looking building. Universities usually build something that lasts 50 to 100 years, but when you’re an entrepreneur, things change rapidly.
Troy D’Ambrosio, Executive Director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute