Towson University launched an incubator for startup businesses and nonprofits Monday aimed at connecting business leaders with each other and with students interested in finding a career.
The venture, called StarTUp, includes a state-of-the-art business engagement center housed in the renovated Towson armory.
In partnership with Greenberg Gibbons real estate development and Baltimore County government, the school held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at the 26,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Washington and Chesapeake avenues
“We wanted to have a center that was full of innovation … this is a perfect space,” Towson University President Kim Schatzel said.
The structure will also house the university’s entrepreneurship and venture creation programs such as the StarTUp Accelerator, an intensive, eight-week, cohort-based fellowship where startup businesses can work in a collaborative space to present competitions and events for students and professionals.
The newly renovated space has been in the works for almost three years when the university announced Patrick T. McQuown as the new executive director of entrepreneurship in 2019. He previously said he wanted to create a “world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem” at Towson.
McQuown helped transform the former Maryland National Guard building into the new business incubator, featuring 6,000 square feet of dedicated free coworking space, collaboration-centric furniture, up-to-date technology, high-speed Wi-Fi, conference rooms, open spaces for events, a media/gaming room, a 24-seat board room, a 75-person multipurpose room, 15 offices for university-affiliated organizations and staff, and a Starbucks on site that will open soon.
McQuown said the facility is open access Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., without any reservation, memberships or fees.
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The space is also apart of Towson Row, a $350 million development in downtown Towson that will include a Whole Foods Market, additional stores, restaurants, offices, apartments and a 220-room hotel.
“The transformation of the old armory building is yet another sign of downtown Towson’s revitalization. This is a blended facility that will serve students, entrepreneurs and customers who simply come off the street,” County Council member David Marks said in a statement.
Schatzel and McQuown were joined at the ceremony by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Brian Gibbons, chair and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons.
“I think this is a great day for Baltimore County. I think this is a great example of what happens and what’s possible when we all come together. You take a great anchor institution, take the Baltimore County government and you take the private sector and look at what we’ve done. I think the best is yet to come. The stories that are going to be written here are going to be incredible,” Olszewski said.
To learn more about this entrepreneurial hub, go to towson.edu/startup.