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Dartmouth Aims to Hatch Ideas From Students at Campus Incubator

Hanover — A new incubator to help entrepreneurial students launch startup businesses and social enterprises is scheduled to open this spring in a high-tech space on Currier Place across from the Dartmouth College campus.

The Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator is designed to help budding entrepreneurs develop new ideas and turn them into businesses ready to go into the larger Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Centerra Park, said the incubator’s director, Jamie Coughlin, who will oversee the facility under the umbrella of the Dartmouth’s recently created Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.

“We’re in the process of layout and design and waiting on permits, which we think we’ll have in early 2014,” Coughlin said last week. “Then we’ll build the space.”

The design of the 3,000-square-foot center, with lots of open areas, was reached after working with students to come up with the best plan.

“It’s a great space, different from DRTC. It’s more open and collaborative to allow areas for mentoring with businesses and where individuals as well as groups can work,” Coughlin said. “It lends itself to events and gatherings. We want to encourage student clubs to hold meeting there.”

With the opening of the center, Dartmouth will be able to provide support for entrepreneurs from the earliest stages to when they become full-fledged companies.

Coughlin, who started at Dartmouth in July, brings to the job a fresh and enthusiastic approach to supporting entrepreneurial endeavors. He is a Princeton University graduate, a Bradford, N.H., native and the former head of the abi Innovation Hub in Manchester, which he rejuvenated from the stagnant Amoskeag Business Incubator.

He renamed the facility, moved it from the Manchester Millyard to a building downtown and changed the focus to innovation. He also created multiple regional, statewide and national business startup competitions, including TechOut, which annually awards $100,000 in cash prizes.

“Dartmouth is making a real commitment to building businesses that are part of the global community, businesses that can start with an idea, develop and move into the DRTC,” he said. “This area can be a real beacon for the surrounding region and the state, offering a great opportunity for people to come here and stay.”

The center is being funded with $2.6 million in seed money provided by alumni donors.

“We’re not looking to create just another space on campus. What we’re really trying to do is create a community for innovation and ideas,” Coughlin said.

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