All Penn students welcome at hub where ideas will lead to outcomes
The new Venture Lab program is set to become the center of a Penn-wide drive to support entrepreneurship, responding to growing student demand for hands-on opportunities to work toward developing transformative and scalable startups.
Spearheaded by Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship, Venture Lab will serve as the University’s home for student innovation and a launch pad for commercializing the many ideas that are born on Penn’s campus every year.
Recent Penn and Wharton graduates have created more than 500 venture-backed companies, including eyewear disruptor Warby Parker; Jet.com, now a Walmart-owned consumer goods delivery company; and Flatiron Health, an oncology data company acquired in 2018 by the pharmaceutical firm Roche for $2 billion.
“At Venture Lab, entrepreneurial students can take chances, they can explore, they can experiment with how to build teams,” says Professor Karl Ulrich, Wharton’s Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the CIBC Professor of Entrepreneurship and e-Commerce. “This is a remarkable time at Penn because there is a groundswell of interest in innovation among faculty, students, and alumni. We are in a perfect position with Venture Lab to take advantage of this enthusiasm.”
In its future home at 40th and Sansom Streets in the new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Building, Venture Lab will be a place where students from across the University of Pennsylvania can turn good ideas into great outcomes. It will promote information sharing and program collaboration among entrepreneurship and initiatives currently spread across the campus. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Building will house meeting rooms, co-working areas, and a Maker Space to help all members of the Penn community take their creative ideas from concept to prototype.
By providing access to support through grants, fellowships, and prizes, an inclusive innovation hub like Venture Lab can spark social change by empowering passionate students to flourish beyond financial constraints. “Societal challenges require creative solutions,” Professor Ulrich says. “One of the best approaches to finding great, creative solutions is to bring together a diverse group of problem solvers.”