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Innovation & Job News

Pennovation Center wants to get inventors into the garage

Aerial rendering of the Pennovation Center

Rendering of the Pennovation Center

Last week, we looked at what Pennovation Works Director of Development Paul Sehnert calls "a real differentiator" for the new campus’s flagship building: wet labs for small local start-ups.

But the wet labs aren’t the only assets that might catch the eye of Philly entrepreneurs in need of space. The ground floor of the Pennovation Center (slated to open later this summer on the banks of the Schuylkill) features twelve units the designers have dubbed "inventor garages," and they're available for lease.

These 500-square-foot spaces are pretty simple: they’re finished and painted on the inside, and have a small complement of moveable (or removable) desks and chairs that can accommodate three or four people.

"They’re super-cool," explains Sehnert. "They actually have a garage-style door opening onto a small plaza, and a glass and wood door on the inside. It’s a fun and useful feature, but it’s about more than just function. We all know that Apple and Hewlett Packard started in a garage. That’s why we called [them] 'inventor garages.'"

Companies who lease the spaces (as of mid-June, seven were spoken for, with five still available) will also be part of the larger community at the Pennovation Center and be entitled to six hours of meeting space outside the garage each month.

But "you’ve got your own clubhouse," Sehnert continues. "You retreat to your garage and on a pleasant day, you can open the garage door and get daylight. You can actually use the garage door if you have equipment that you load or have materials that you’re moving in and out.”

Uses for the garages might include a combo of storage and work space, light duty fabrication, space for programmers or coders to get working, or simply a welcoming, utilitarian spot for folks who need to roll in a whiteboard and brainstorm.

And as with the wet labs, the inventor garages are designed as a launch pad -- not a permanent home -- for the companies who land there (some of whom may progress into larger lab space Pennovation is developing). The garages will have lease terms of one year, though this is negotiable.

“We want you to start your company and then graduate," insists Sehnert. "We want you to face the world and move on."

Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Paul Sehnert, Pennovation Works
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