Students and faculty sitting in the 707 lab.

Think tank

Creative partnerships

Think tank

Student entrepreneurs joined forces to launch ideas. The 707 Hub work space is the first idea out of the gate.

By Jesse Lee

The idea for a work space evolved out of a chance meeting at a leadership retreat. Students Sam Wesley and Creighton Joyce were sophomores in the College of Business Administration and the Opus College of Engineering, respectively, when they bonded over a shared observation — Marquette lacked space to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration among students.

“We needed to make a space so students could work with each other on ideas with a scope larger than just campus,” says Wesley, Bus Ad ’17.

Wesley and Joyce, Bus Ad ’17, met with Kelsey Otero, associate director of the Social Innovation Initiative, and Megan Carver, associate director of the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship, for help getting their germ of an idea off the ground. “We used the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship as a test to help figure out what would make a new space successful,” Joyce says.

They gathered insights from as many people as possible and then brought their findings to President Michael Lovell. “After speaking to him,” Wesley says, “we realized we could really make an impact with this.”

Joyce and Wesley submitted a proposal to the Strategic Innovation Fund for their project idea. They called it The CoLab. The proposal was funded in 2015, and then evolved into the larger 707 Hub, which opened last spring on the corner of North 7th Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

The space offers multiple collaborative workspaces, tools such as 3D printers, and programming opportunities crisscrossing campus to foster new ideas. •

Some ideas already percolating:

• Startup Networking Night for Marquette students to meet with startups.
• Dorm Fund student-run venture capital firm.
• Brewed Ideas Challenge funding competition for students who have the next great innovative idea.

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