Merrimack College is poised to harness the entrepreneurial spirit and skill set of students across the school through a new space in Crowe Hall.
The Entrepreneurship Lab, which held an open house celebration on Oct. 18 attended by Merrimack College President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., and faculty and students from across the College, offers support and services for students to explore business ideas and develop tangible solutions to real-world challenges.
“The E-Lab is a dedicated space for students and faculty to develop and bring new ideas to market,” says Mark Lippman, assistant professor of practice, entrepreneurship and director of the E-Lab. “Think of it as the Merrimack College ‘Ideation Station.’ We’ve created an environment, similar to many startups, that supports focus and collaboration so that we can address campus-focused entrepreneurial efforts and opportunities.”
Services students will find in the lab include an Apple Mac Studio, a 3D printer and onsite advice from expert faculty and student advisors. Lippman stressed that just because the E-Lab is housed in Crowe Hall and the Girard School of Business, it is not exclusive to business students and faculty.
“This is an interdisciplinary project supported by a broad cross-section of faculty from virtually every school at Merrimack,” Lippman said.
Students with the Entrepreneurship Club have already started work on the first venture to come out of the E-Lab, an app that tracks the Warrior Shuttle. Additionally, more than 60 students have already signed up to participate in launching a variety of ventures including a fashion thrift store on campus, and developing a community outreach program, Girls on Ice, for girls in grades five through seven in the Merrimack Valley.
“I’ve always been inspired by entrepreneurship, and after taking Professor Lippman’s course last year I knew I was passionate about it,” said Heather Mileika ’23, president of the Entrepreneurship Club. “Whether it be learning new skills, listening to experienced entrepreneurs or practicing hands-on simulations, I truly enjoy the vast opportunity within entrepreneurship. The new E-Lab also is a great space for students to gather and create.”
Eventually, Merrimack students and faculty will partner with local small businesses to brainstorm and develop ideas and products that will help the business address a challenge it is facing.
The Entrepreneurship Club is an approved SGA organization that promotes and accelerates student-run ventures. The club also sponsors Entrepreneurial Journeys, a speaker series and will host an entrepreneurship pitch competition similar to “Shark Tank” this spring, where students could win up to $5,000 to pursue their business ideas.