Speaking before an enthusiastic crowd at Princeton’s new Entrepreneurial Hub on Wednesday, Nov. 11, University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said the hum of activity in the new space on Chambers Street shows that the facility was aptly named.
“In the few short months since its opening, the Hub has become a nexus of entrepreneurial activity, a place where creative and talented entrepreneurs from the University and the community are coming together to learn from one another, establish connections, and make contributions to the local and regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, and ultimately to the world,” Eisgruber said.
Located at 34 Chambers St. in downtown Princeton, the Hub is a base for a wide range of entrepreneurial activities. Its 10,000 square feet of space includes classrooms, offices, meeting rooms and information technology support. Operated by the Keller Center, the Hub provides support and guidance for students, faculty, alumni and entrepreneurial-minded members of the community. Programs based at the Hub include the Keller Center’s eLab program, which supports selected student teams seeking to start new ventures.The recently created Princeton Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) is also located in the Hub.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the front steps of the red brick building, Eisgruber was joined at the podium by University Provost David Lee, Keller Center Director and PEC Chair Mung Chiang, and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert.
“University entrepreneurship cannot exist in a vacuum,” Eisgruber said. “Partnerships to facilitate entrepreneurship are increasingly important, and we look forward to ongoing collaborations with municipal leaders and area business partners to cultivate and nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem in central New Jersey.”
Lempert thanked the Unversity leaders for “using the University’s focus on entrepreneurship as an avenue to strengthening ties with the wider community.”
“You have recognized the brainpower and expertise that exists here in Princeton outside the University’s gates and have created the opportunity for synergies that both strengthen the University’s programs and energize the town’s entrepreneurial environment,” she said.
Lee, who formed a University committee that issued a report earlier this year on entrepreneurship at Princeton, noted that the work at the Hub exemplifies the report’s vision for “entrepreneurship the Princeton way,” which he said is an extension of the University’s longstanding commitment to service. “This holistic vision recognizes and celebrates the idea that entrepreneurship initiatives can enrich the liberal arts education that Princeton provides to its students, helping them develop skills that are critical to societal service and leadership,” Lee said.
The growth in student interest and in new University programs to support that enthusiasm has been rapid, Lee said. “I enthusiastically supported the establishment of a physical presence for the University’s entrepreneurship initiatives in downtown Princeton, but I couldn’t have imagined how rapidly it would evolve into a true Hub — actually, an E-Hub — of creativity, innovation and discovery.”
Chiang noted that “entrepreneurship the Princeton way” combines education and outreach beyond the University. “As we open the Hub, these doors will remain open,” Chiang said. “We will continue to welcome partners from Princeton, from Mercer County and from New Jersey on a rising tide that lifts all boats. We welcome you to participate in our events and programs. We welcome you to become mentors and collaborators to the teams of innovators who are pushing, pivoting and persisting each day in the corridors behind me.”