ThinkBig launching startup house in the fall semester

Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech Communications

Starting in the following academic school year, students living on campus will have the option of living in the Startup House, a new ThinkBig community. Residents will live in upper two floors of the Crecine apartments on West Campus.

“Georgia Tech students are risk takers and that a lot of [students] will start their own businesses or create new technology and need to have an outlet for business and entrepreneurship,” said Holly Shikano, Coordinator of Residential Academic Initiatives at Georgia Tech Housing.

Residents involved in a ThinkBig program would interact with a faculty member once a week and participate in large group activities every two weeks.

The faculty who proposed this program are Keith McGregor and Brandy Nagel from the VentureLab, which assists emerging student businesses.

In the Startup house, local entrepreneurs, especially Tech alumni, would be invited to talk to students about the process of starting a business and marketing an idea. This weekly meeting can be taken as an audited class by any interested students.

“It’s going to be really cool because you’re going to meet people… that have been in your shoes… and hear about their experiences,” Shikano said. “One future speaker is a graduate from this school who has developed and sold a heart monitor in the Apple Store. In addition, a monthly field trip to the Venture Lab in Technology Square is planned.”

Students from all majors such as business and engineering are invited to apply, because the act of starting a business requires integration of many skills. This housing option can also bring together teams working toward the Inventure Prize or who are taking Senior Design and Capstone courses.

“We know that one of the challenges of working in a team is finding time to meet… and so it’ll be much easier if you’re all living on the same floor,” Shikano said.

For its inaugural year, 50 students will be accepted in this program and live in that floor’s 18 apartments. This building includes laundry machines, study lounges and a recently renovated courtyard that has a recreational field and barbeque grills.

The ThinkBig communities have a greater deal of intimacy in terms of apartment-style housing.

“When you have a floor of 60 people and you have your own bedroom and there’s four doors between you and someone else, it can be a challenge to get to know your neighbor.  Moving … to the ThinkBig community can make the transition smoother because other people are interested in the same topic,” Shikano said.