Entrepreneurial Living-Learning Communities Gather in Gainesville for the Fourth Annual Roundtable

6/15/2015 11:43:45 AM Christine Olivo

Entrepreneurial Living-Learning Communities Gather in Gainesville for the Fourth Annual Roundtable

From June 4-5, several University and startup representatives from around the world came together to discuss the successes and challenges faced within their Entrepreneurial Living-Learning Communities this past school year at the University of Florida in Gainesville. This year’s Entrepreneurial Living-Learning Community Roundtable (ELLC) was the fourth annual event to take place since it began in 2012 by the Innovation Living-Learning Community (LLC) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Innovation LLC is a residence hall where students live together that all share a passion for entrepreneurship, innovation or creativity. This community is focused on allowing students to explore the entrepreneurial process by providing them with resources to further develop their ideas.

The ELLC Roundtable is a participant-driven annual event that provides the opportunity for attendees to gather in one spot and network with other faculty, staff and students from other LLCs focused on the same topic.

This year’s ELLC Roundtable had a total of about 25-30 attendees representing various Universities. Universities in attendance were: Florida State University, Ohio State University, Stanford University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Pittsburgh and University of Utah. Representatives from various startups in Brazil were also in attendance this year.

Attendees had a packed schedule over the two day event, consisting of panels and discussions on innovative programming for students, how each university interacts with their entrepreneurial ecosystem on and off campus and advice for Universities that are creating new LLCs focused on Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

Babs Carryer, Director of Education and Outreach at the University of Pittsburgh, said the discussions were helpful to her as Pittsburg manages its first Innovation LLC.

 “There were people there that had been running LLCs for a few years,” said Carryer. “There were great lessons learned about what worked and didn’t work within their LLCs, and how to build it from the ground up.”

Along with engaging in conversations, attendees also had the chance to explore the University of Florida campus. University of Florida facilitators gave tours of Starter Space, a building for the community of passionate, collaborative entrepreneurs and change makers, the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC) and University of Florida’s new Entrepreneurial LLC, Infinity Hall.

Mary Jordan, Academic Initiatives Specialist and member of the Department of Housing and Residence Education of University of Florida, said that Infinity Hall is a new residence hall and incubator for 308 student entrepreneurs in Gainesville's Innovation Square. Jordan also said the space accommodates three styles of student rooms, four incubator spaces, a classroom, 3D printing, laser cutting, a fabrication lab and a mobile app development environment.

Sara Hamon, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Florida State University, said she enjoyed having the ELLC Roundtable at the University of Florida Campus.


“I most enjoyed the tour of Infinity Hall,” Hamon said. “I was very surprised at how much construction had taken place on campus since I worked at the University 20 years ago.”


Next year’s ELLC Roundtable is set to take place in June 2016 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Although the University of Illinois has hosted the event in Chicago in 2012 and 2013, this will be the first time attendees will experience the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

“We want to host it in our community so we can show off our programs and facilities, such as the Innovation Garage, 3D printing labs and our other entrepreneurial resources,” said Jennifer Bechtel, Program Director for the Innovation and Sustainability Living-Learning Communities at the University of Illinois. “We want to show off what this campus has to offer.”

If you would like to attend the ELLC Roundtable next year or have any questions, please contact Jennifer Bechtel at bechtel@illinois.edu or visit our website for more details.