‘Very helpful’: ECU Isley Innovation Hub offers space for aspiring entrepreneurs

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – East Carolina University’s Isley Innovation Hub is open, and those interested in becoming entrepreneurs have a place to get started.

Now open in the university’s Wright building, the hub is 15,000 square feet of a place to do just about anything.

Dennis Barber, Miller School of Entrepreneurship acting director, oversees the hub that he says offers a space for students to bounce ideas off one another and work on projects.

“Students from any major, anywhere across campus, faculty or staff, is welcome to come into the space,” Barber says.

The hub is equipped with 3D printers, collaborative space, and even tools. It is great for those in the RISE29 Program, specifically designed for entrepreneurs.

“I meet pretty much people of all majors here. I’ve met people that are communications majors, I’ve met biology majors here,” senior Markell Rawls said. “I think a good mix of students start using this space just to study because it’s more of a relaxed vibe.”

There are limitations to what students can learn in the classroom, which is why starting work here before graduation gives Pirates a leg-up once they earn their degree.

“I come here and do my work with my partner and find ways to help the business we’re working with,” junior Sydney Porter said. “It’s very helpful because it’s right on campus so we don’t have to meet up at some place, and it’s really quiet and everyone here is working on something important.”

Still, it’s not all work at the hub. Barber pointed out an area considered “open lounge,” where video games and ping pong can be played. “There are multiple different uses for this space,” Barber says.

The idea is to encourage partnership, no matter what form it takes.

“We look forward to this being a place where people look forward to coming and collaborating,” Barber says.

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