Purdue to Open Entrepreneurial, Industry Partnership Facility for Faculty, Staff and Students

By: Contributor Last Updated: June 20, 2013

ddp-interiorPurdue Research Foundation and Purdue's Discovery Park will jointly open a building in early July for industry and Purdue research partnerships, student entrepreneurial activities and startup company offices.

The nearly 10,000-square-foot facility, located at 1601 State St. in West Lafayette, Ind., is owned by the Purdue Research Foundation. The main floor will house the Discovery Park Partners and will be used by corporations interested in partnering with Purdue on research projects and for faculty, staff and student entrepreneurs who have founded a company and want easy access to Purdue research facilities. The basement of the structure will house the Anvil, a nonprofit entity founded by students that will open in the fall and will be used for Purdue entrepreneurial co-space.

"The facility provides space not currently available on the Purdue University campus and will strengthen Purdue's goal of doubling the number of startups being created by Purdue innovators," said Dan Hasler, president of Purdue Research Foundation. "It also will further support Purdue's strong industry partnerships by making space available for corporations who sponsor Purdue's research activities."

The building, which was previously known as the State Street Office Facility, is less than one mile west of Discovery Park and provides 22 parking spaces on its one-acre lot.

"The building previously housed a Purdue health clinic so it needed little renovation for Discovery Park Partners, and the interior design provides mixed-use options including offices, open work spaces and conference rooms," said Joseph Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation. "We have spoken with several entrepreneurs and company officials about using the space."

An advantage to the space is the flexibility it will provide for entrepreneurial activities, said Alan Rebar, senior associate vice president for research and executive director of Discovery Park.

"Several companies have sprung out of research in Discovery Park and other companies have formed from research across the university. Faculty members who have founded businesses have asked for private office space where they can conduct proprietary transactions, but we just don't have that kind of additional space in Discovery Park," Rebar said. "The Discovery Park Partners facility will provide these entrepreneurs the privacy they need to work on their businesses and still be close enough to their research facilities on the Purdue campus to advance their innovations. Our hope is that the new space will energize and incentivize campus researchers and entrepreneurs into moving their ideas forward and form a startup. "

Mike Asem, a Purdue liberal arts undergraduate and co-founder of the startup Tebogo LLC, and Chris MacPherson, a Purdue business undergraduate and co-founder of Kyk Energy Inc., are creating a co-working space and business incubator in the Anvil, which Asem has already formed as a nonprofit entity. Asem is the first Purdue student to be named the OnePurdue Scholar for his work to promote pride, scholarship and campus involvement at Purdue.

"The Anvil was created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, and we want the space to be community driven so we invite all Purdue entrepreneurs to get involved," Asem said. "There are a lot of students forming their own companies in their dorm rooms, and the Anvil will bridge the gap between an idea in a dorm room and a startup in the Purdue Research Park. The end goal is to create more startups."

Asem said the Anvil will provide resources for students, faculty and staff innovators who seek collaborative work space.

"We want people to take their ideas seriously, and that's why we are planning to offer workshops and a speaker series among other resources to help potential entrepreneurs take actionable steps to start companies and commercialize their ideas," he said.

For more information about the Discovery Park Partners contact Hornett at jbhornett@prf.org or Rebar at rebar@purdue.edu. For more information about the Anvil, contact Asem at d.mike.asem@gmail.com.