Entrepreneurism begins in the mind, but entrepreneurs also need a place to work, design, discuss, strategize, and mine the experience of mentors. The Tiger Cage Accelerator and Incubator provides student entrepreneurs with office and meeting space, as well as invaluable interaction with veteran entrepreneurs. The 2,700-square foot facility is a collaborative effort between Harbert’s Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship and the Auburn University Research and Technology Foundation.
Students get “an open, collaborative environment to work on their business ideas,” says LaKami Baker, managing director of the Lowder Center. “By providing formal space for the students to work, not only does it help them legitimize their business, it allows us to provide some guidance as they advance through the entrepreneurship process.” Students working in the facility in the Auburn Research Park also take part in the Tiger Cage pitch competition at the annual Entrepreneurship Summit.
The student startups move faster in the summer Accelerator Program. “The purpose is to accelerate their business ideas and turn them into business startups,” says Lou Bifano, director of entrepreneurship strategy at Harbert. “We compress the time it takes to provide them with a set of learning experiences to try to minimize the mistakes they might make and to increase the probability that they are going to be successful in launching a business.”