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CU-Boulder’s nLab, students seeking funding for coworking space
CU-Boulder’s nLab, students seeking funding for coworking space
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What: How to Pitch with TechStars’ Nicole Glaros

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Wolf Law, room 204

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A group of University of Colorado students, faculty and staff are seeking funding for a project that would provide free workspace, mentorship and resources to student entrepreneurs.

A committee made up of student group leaders, a Student Government representative, staff from the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and a representative from the City of Boulder is seeking between $500,000 and $600,000 to launch the space.

The group is eyeing a 5,400 square-foot basement space at 13th Street and College Avenue on the University Hill, but the lack of funding is slowing the progress, said Ben Buie, a graduate student who is on the committee.

“We want the coworking and incubator space to have helpful programs and scholarships, to have space for innovation around campus,” Buie said. “Right now, there are similar spaces around Boulder, but they require expensive monthly subscriptions that students can’t really afford, and this would be free for students.”

The committee is still discussing the details of the new space, but Buie said that if they can raise the funds in time, he is hoping to launch the facility in the fall.

The project comes on the heels of CU’s nLab, formerly the Innovation Lab, which was launched by the Deming Center in October to help students mobilize their business ideas.

The nLab offers weekly coworking sessions, workshops, online resources and connects students with mentors to help them develop their concepts, said Alison Peters, managing director of the Deming Center.

“It’s a cross-campus resource to help students turn their ideas into business ventures or develop campus programs that may serve other students or businesses,” Peters said.

A mobile kiosk with a built in workspace and computer began roaming the Boulder campus about two weeks ago, promoting the nLab project and the coworking sessions in the University Memorial Center dining room on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sessions provide a space for student entrepreneurs to talk about their ideas and get advice from rotating mentors from the campus and Boulder communities.

Many of the students, faculty and staff who helped develop the nLab are now focused on designing and funding the permanent space, which would likely become an extension of the nLab.

The details are still being discussed, but committee members said the space would be free for students and offer paid subscriptions to non-students and students who wanted to reserve a specific area of the space.

Until the permanent workspace is created, CU junior Fletcher Richman, who serves on the committees for nLab and the permanent space, said he attends the nLab’s weekly sessions for tips on improving his business. Recently, he has been using the time to work with his partners on his latest idea, MusikFly — a website that matches musicians to music bloggers by genre providing marketing to new talent and material for bloggers.

“At one of the coworking days I met Holly Hamann, co-founder BlogFrog, a really successful startup in a similar space that connects brands to bloggers who can review their products,” Richman said. “She had some great advice on company formation and managing a team and has been helping us out a lot.”

Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.