The Shoemaker Innovation Center on the second floor of Luddy Hall at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering hummed with activity as aspiring student innovators and entrepreneurs charted their own futures and worked to inspire their classmates.
The Shoemaker Innovation Center Open House welcomed student innovators and entrepreneurs from across campus Aug. 31, providing visitors a sense of the work being done in the space and an opportunity to talk about their start-ups and product concepts.
“We wanted to give anybody who has an interest in what we’re doing at the Shoemaker Innovation Center the chance to come and ask questions and discover how they might fit in,” said Travis Brown, the assistant dean for innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization at SICE and executive director of the Shoemaker Innovation Center. “Interested students could have an interest in start-ups or entrepreneurship in general, and we wanted to give them the chance to find teams they could join. We also know there are students who want to do consulting work with start-ups, such as graduate design students who are looking for portfolio pieces, and this gave those students a chance to connect.”
Students who work in “The Shoebox,” a dedicated space for student entrepreneurs to move beyond talking about their business to building, launching, and sustaining their venture, must spend at least 10 hours a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday developing their business. In return, they are provided 24/7 access to the space, while bi-weekly meetings allow teams to share ideas and report on the progress they’ve made with their business.
The Shoemaker Innovation Center has space for up to 30 teams, and SICE’s Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Commercialization program provides opportunities for mentorship from successful entrepreneurs who can guide students to make their dream business a reality.
“Being involved with the Shoemaker Innovation Center has provided access to a lot of resources for me,” said Bhargav Pandravada, an undergraduate student who utilizes the space. “It’s really convenient for me to have access to a space like this on campus, where I can come in to work in between classes or have a presentable office space to meet with clients and investors.”
Monica Richel, a fashion design student minoring in entrepreneurship who wants to launch a children’s clothing brand, was interested in finding out what the Shoemaker Innovation Center could offer.
“I’m excited to learn that there is a space on campus for people like me who want to start a business endeavor while they’re in school,” Richel said.
Students from across the IU campus are welcome to visit the Shoemaker Innovation Center and take part in the program.
“The purpose of the center is to celebrate student entrepreneurship and foster ideas,” Brown said. “The founding philosophy is to be as inclusive as possible. Regardless of your discipline, you’re welcome here. Our students are serious about getting things done, and we’re focused on creating an atmosphere that will allow our entrepreneurs and innovators to be successful.
For more information on the Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Commercialization program at SICE, visit our website.