Ever wanted to start your own business? Interested in startups and entrepreneurship? The Polsky Center, located on 53rd Street in Downtown Hyde Park, is a vibrant hub for innovation and invention. The Center incubates a whopping 10-20 startups at any given time, and more than 2,500 members take use of the wide-open co-working space and conference rooms. The Polsky Center draws in professors, community members, graduate school students, and college students to collaborate and create new products. You’re never too young to start a venture, and the Polsky Center offers free membership to all UChicago students.
With a membership, you can take full advantage of all of the resources Polsky has to offer. You can schedule one-on-one mentorship appointments with the Entrepreneurs and Executives in Residence, for business advice that’s unique to your situation or to ask general questions about the startup market. You also get access to the Fab Lab, which boasts a laser cutter, a woodshop, and everything else you need to make 2D and 3D prototypes of whatever you can imagine.
In addition, your membership will get you invitations to the Polsky Center’s exciting events. The Center hosts two annual conferences, aimed at fostering networking and inspiring young entrepreneurs. There are several workshops every week on marketing, business law, and graphic design, all of which are free to attend (with tons of free food, too!).
If you have an idea for a business, but have no idea where to begin, the Polsky Center is the perfect place to start. Whether your idea is concrete or abstract, you can practice your sales pitches and get feedback from experts at every stage. You can find potential business partners, design and make prototypes, and master all the tools of the trade. Even if you’re not interested in becoming the next founder of a big name startup like GrubHub, the Polsky Center will help you master valuable skills for any profession. Signing up for a membership was easily one of the best things I’ve done during my time at UChicago!