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No Ivory Tower

University venture lab provides real-life entrepreneurial lessons

This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In a place where people immerse themselves in knowledge, it's only natural that new ideas will emerge. That's the thinking behind the Venture Creation Lab in the Center for Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Designed to give students from all disciplines the chance to research business opportunities and emerging technologies, the lab is a type of testing ground for business ideas, notes Robert Jacobs, managing director of the center. Once accepted into the center, students from the engineering, medicine and law programs are put in teams of three or four to decide what is most commercially feasible using the technologies developed and owned by the university. "At that point," says Jacobs, "they start to work on a full-scale business plan."

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