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U of Iowa opens Thinc Lab, Iowa City’s newest collaboration space

Thinc Lab is the latest student co-working and collaboration space opened by the university. 

While there are many places for University of Iowa students to meet and collaborate on campus, the university’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is celebrating one of the newest. The Thinc Innovation and Collaboration Lab will provide space not only for U of Iowa students, but for the larger Iowa City startup community. 

Thinc Lab will be in the lower level of 122 E. Market Street, on the corner of Dubuque and Market streets. The university will host a grand opening celebration for the co-working space from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday (today). In anticipation of the event, we caught up with JPEC’s acting director, Lynn Allendorf, and asked her a few questions about the new student space.

Silicon Prairie News: How did the Thinc Lab come about? 

Lynn Allendorf: The College of Business was running out of space so our initial challenge was that our full-time staff members, who are a part of the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship, were really being squeezed. We had no place to expand and hire new people. We also have a pretty regular waiting list for the Bedell Labs—those students are able to access the Bedell Lab building, but don’t necessarily have office space there. This new space can help act as overflow.  

SPN: Tell us a little bit about the space. 

LA: It’s a little over 5,000-square feet. It’s multi-purpose. First of all, it’s meant to be collaboration space for students in entrepreneurial management—that’s our program where student teams work on projects for entrepreneurs and businesses from across the state. This space allows them to go and work with each other or go meet company owners and entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of co-working space there along with a whole entire wall that’s a white board, and there’s also a private conference room. Our Jacobson Institute that focuses on K-12 STEM initiatives will also be housed there. 

SPN: How is Thinc Lab different from the other spaces JPEC offers for students?
LA: Any student on campus is welcome to use the space—we’ve just been specifically promoting it toward our students. It’ll be open Monday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m., and any student is able to drop in between those hours.

SPN: What type of events can we look forward to at the Thinc Lab? 

LA: We’d love to work with community groups, have them use this space and co-sponsor small community events there. We understand there’s meet-up groups that sometimes struggle to find space in the community, and we plan on keeping it open to them during the day and evening. 

 

Credits: Thinc Lab photo courtesy of University of Iowa JPEC. Lynn Allendorf photo from Tippie College of Business