The Quad Innovation Partnership — a collaborative program formed by Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, UCCS and the U.S. Air Force Academy — has hired new leadership and signed a lease for a dedicated space in downtown Colorado Springs.
Local entrepreneur Jacob Eichengreen was hired in August to serve as the program’s first executive director and has since worked with representatives from the four schools on plans to headquarter the Quad in a 2,000-square-foot commercial space beneath Loyal Coffee (408 S. Nevada Ave.).
PPCC President Lance Bolton said he expects to begin using the space (owned by Blue Dot Place developers Darsey Nicklasson and Kathy Loo) in January, following a complete remodel of the former bakery. PPCC is the leaseholder of the five-year agreement.
The launch of the program was announced in 2014, but Bolton and the rest of the team got serious about finding a permanent space for the partnership just last year.
“This is definitely the one that stood out — the location and the layout are exactly what we were looking for,” he said of the basement space. “When we were looking at locations, we were looking at spots that would be attractive to entrepreneurs and people who were interested in connecting with local businesses. We love the location for that reason — there are a lot of small startups in the neighborhood and I think that feels very well aligned with what we’re trying to do as an institution.”
Eichengreen said the basement will feature space for events, coworking, meetings and could also serve as a marketplace for entrepreneurs to prototype their goods and services — adding that the team will make a concerted effort not to replicate how other companies and organizations are serving the local entrepreneurial community. He said the ultimate goal is to prevent “brain drain” in Colorado Springs.
“This is about helping people find a home in Colorado Springs — helping them reach their highest potential and pursue the innovation that drives them,” he said. “Our metric is alumni retention; our tool is innovation.”
Eichengreen also explained that most of the plans for both the space and the program are currently conceptual and subject to change.
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