Earlier this year, Drexel University’s business incubator grew up. The Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship became an Institute.
It’s largely a symbolic move, says the Institute‘s Executive Director Mark Loschiavo, to show that the status of the incubator has been elevated. Instead of reporting to the dean of Drexel’s Lebow College of Business, the Institute now answers to the Provost, the university’s chief academic officer.
Still, Loschiavo says a tangible difference has yet to be seen.
There is, however, a major difference from the last time we caught up with Loschiavo in 2009, aside from the companies that have come and gone: the Institute has broadened its focus to also support student-run startups.
In 2009, the incubator piloted the program with one student-run company, says Loschiavo. But he was tentative about expanding the program because he didn’t want to do anything that might encourage undergraduates to drop out of school. That, and many of the business ideas coming from students were “pedestrian,” he says.
Both those matters have since changed.
The Institute currently houses three student-run companies, and students can apply to take their “co-op” at the incubator, a program that’s meant to give undergraduates work experience.
Loschiavo says he realized that “students are starting businesses with or without us,” referring to the incubator.
He hopes the Institute will actually encourage students to stay in school because of the resources the incubator can offer, adding that he’s been more and more impressed with the business ideas he’s seen.
As for future plans, the Institute won’t be growing in physical size anytime soon, Loschiavo says.
He says he’s turned down the opportunity to triple the size of the incubator because he’s not in the business of “finding bodies” to fill the space. He says he wants to be able to focus on his number one priority: “The care and feeding of the entrepreneur.”