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ASU Launches Summer Program for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Inventors

Scottsdale, AZ (PRWEB) May 21, 2013

Arizona State University is seeking aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors who want to develop their ideas into solutions, products and services in a free summer program.

The university is recruiting participants for AREA48 (Applied Regional Economic Activity), a revolutionary new “formation space” that provides early-stage entrepreneurs with opportunities to access human and knowledge assets. While AREA48 is open to anyone, ASU is particularly seeking participation from retirees, veterans rejoining the civilian workforce and knowledge workers seeking new opportunities.

Located in a former restaurant in downtown Tempe, AREA48 supports the development of entrepreneurs by providing a central place for them to connect, collaborate and create as well as receive mentorship, advice and practical business training. There is no cost to participate in AREA48, which runs from June through September. Anyone interested in participating may apply online.

The initiative, which is run by ASU Venture Catalyst, the university’s startup unit, is funded by a grant from the Blackstone Organizational Grants Program, an annual $1 million program targeting organizations that focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Through this program, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is helping innovative organizations that directly support entrepreneurs to pilot, expand or replicate projects or programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

“AREA48 provides an opportunity to harvest untapped human resources to create high-growth ventures that will spur long-term economic growth and job creation in Arizona,” said Gordon McConnell, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “In addition, it will become a feeder to the state’s entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, including accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces.”

At AREA48, participants from diverse backgrounds who have varied skill sets will learn to use new product development and Lean methodologies to turn ideas into solutions, products and services. The initiative’s practitioner-oriented approach allows participants to engage in hands-on activities ranging from prototyping products to establishing a social enterprise to turning a hobby into a business.

AREA48, which officially opens June 24, is housed in the former Bamboo Club restaurant at 699 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe. The location features team huddle spaces, areas for prototyping and testing products, classroom space for “pracademic” courses and a “showcase space” open to the public.

ASU Venture Catalyst will offer its highly successful Rapid Startup School at AREA48, with classes on topics ranging from customer development, fundraising, and business modeling to product development, marketing strategies, and intellectual property. In addition, ASU faculty who teach entrepreneurship and innovation will serve as academics-in-residence.

AREA48’s location is also an innovative way of solving the problem of vacant buildings that is so prevalent in urban and downtown areas throughout the country.

“Locating AREA48 in a vacant restaurant in the heart of downtown Tempe creates easy accessibility for all audiences,” McConnell said. “It allows us to connect ASU’s tremendously diverse students, faculty and staff with AREA48 participants, helping bridge the divide that often exists between a university and its local human and economic infrastructure. Not only does this help create diverse teams, it offers students a real-world experience that is very different from a typical internship or academic course.”

For more information about AREA48, please visit


About Venture Catalyst (
ASU Venture Catalyst equips high-potential startups for success. The Catalyst, a joint effort between the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), assists university students, faculty and staff, as well as local and global companies, with launching startups or accelerating existing ventures. Based at ASU SkySong, The Catalyst offers investor connections, technology road maps, go-to-market strategy consulting, mentoring opportunities and several other programs and services, all designed to identify and develop investment-grade companies.

About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative
Funding for this program is made possible through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $50 million, five-year Entrepreneurship Initiative announced in April 2010. Influenced by the urgent need for job growth in the United States, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation seeks to support innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can accelerate startups, job growth and economic activity. The Foundation focuses its resources on producing large-scale results in geographies hardest hit by the global economic crisis. The Foundation was founded at the time of the Blackstone Group’s Initial Public Offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, the Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

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