Entrepreneurial Living-Learning Communities Share Best Practices at the Third Annual Roundtable

6/13/2014 Preena Patel

In 2012, the Innovation Living-Learning Community (LLC) within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created the Entrepreneurial Living-Learning Community Roundtable (ELLC) event where participants are given the opportunity to network with other faculty, staff, and students from around the country.  

The Innovation LLC provides students with the skills, resources and experiences they need to make their entrepreneurial ideas a reality. 

This year, ELLC participants were able to discuss the best practices and challenges they faced in their own entrepreneurial LLCs this past academic year.  

Four universities: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Georgia Tech were in attendance.  The event was held in Atlanta, Georgia and was hosted by Georgia Tech University.  

Fourteen exceptional attendees represented their universities during the ELLC.  Some best practices that were shared included: creating innovative programs and opportunities for the students living there, engaging alumni and increasing female membership in engineering entrepreneurship.  
The ELLC group checking out the Hypepotamus shared collaboration space for startups.
The ELLC group checking out the Hypepotamus shared collaboration space for startups.
During the question and discussion portion of the event, one of the questions asked, “what academic support was being offered to students from the local entrepreneurial and academic community?”  As most students in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois know, the Technology Entrepreneur Center helps set up lectures in entrepreneurship which pulls in many different alums and entrepreneurs to meet with students and provides them not only with an opportunity to advance their knowledge of entrepreneurship, but to network with alumni and entrepreneurs as well.  This idea, like many others, was shared between the four universities to advance their entrepreneurship programs.  

 (To the left is a picture of some of the participants on a walking tour of Georgia Tech’s campus)

Participants have really enjoyed the ELLC Roundtable because it allows for students and faculty from universities across the country to come together to share success stories from their own communities and help one another advance their entrepreneurship programs. 
Craig Downing, Department Head and Associate Professor of Engineering Management at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology states that “the most important takeaway was the identification of colleagues who have a diverse set of experiences related to ELLCs.” 
Also, many attendees are planning to open an entrepreneurial living learning community in the near future and they learned a great deal from this conference.  Brandy Nagel, Educational Outreach Manager for VentureLab at Georgia Tech states that gathering ideas to grow the ELLC program was one of the most beneficial takeaways.  
Next year’s event will be held in Gainesville, Florida and will be hosted by the University of Florida. “Hopefully attendees will be able to get a hard hat tour of the new facility that they are constructing for the entrepreneurial living-learning community there,” said Jennifer Bechtel, Program Director for the Innovation and Sustainability Living-Learning Communities at the University of Illinois.
If you would like to attend the ELLC Roundtable next year or have any questions, please contact Jennifer Bechtel at bechtel@illinois.edu.