TechArb takes up permanent residence in Google building

This story originally ran 11/11/09

Student entrepreneurs at the TechArb are moving on up... from a basement in downtown Ann Arbor into the building that houses Google's AdWords headquarters.

TechArb is a business incubator for student-run start-ups, similar to the downtown Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti incubators controlled by Ann Arbor SPARK. TechArb is relocating to 2,600 square feet of office space on the fourth floor of the McKinley Towne Centre (201 S Division) next to the offices of Google, the Bodman law firm and Ann Arbor SPARK.

"We see this as a great way to integrate student companies with the community," says Doug Neal, managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan which runs TechArb. "This is a great way to broaden the entrepreneurship eco-system."

U-M's Center for Entrepreneurship started TechArb earlier this summer in the basement of a downtown building. The idea was that student entrepreneurs had unique needs compared to their older compatriots, plus being surrounded by peers who aren't afraid to fail would free them to take more chances and try more ideas.

Ten student-led companies started this summer and the surviving firms are moving into the new office space over the next three weeks. A new class of student-led firms will be allowed admittance in January as part of a two-year experimental pilot program. Ideally, the organizers would like to see about 10 firms occupying TechArb at any given time.

"We're going to run this on a semester by semester basis where student groups can apply for a semester at a time," Neal says.

Source: Doug Neal, managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke

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