Darden Community, Darden News, Executive MBA, Full-Time MBA

Student Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Relocate to New Creator Space

By Maggie Dodson-

UVA’s W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory, affectionately known as the i.Lab, is getting a new home! The Virginia-wide initiative supports entrepreneurs and innovators on Grounds and beyond, serving as a place to create, connect and find community. This summer, the i.Lab will move from its current North Grounds location to a front-and-center space in Darden’s core academic building.

Darden alumna Amanda Joseph (MBA ’19) showcases her travel platform, recently named ‘Most Disruptive’ startup by Poets & Quants

“For over a decade, the i.Lab has been a hallmark of our commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial thinking,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “This exciting new chapter for the i.Lab allows us to embed cutting-edge, flexible spaces at the heart of the Darden student experience, fulfilling our commitment to unparalleled transformational learning.”

The i.Lab’s current home is scheduled to be demolished sometime next year, as part of construction of the new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning.

The project was jumpstarted by a record-setting gift to Darden from Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63). The effort to upgrade many of Darden’s buildings and facilities is one of four priorities comprising Darden’s $400 million Powered by Purpose campaign.

A designated creative space since 2011, the i.Lab has provided an intentional environment for innovators and innovative Darden programs.

Courses included topics on design thinking, software development, financial innovation and effectual problem-solving. Those courses and many others will now be offered in the flat classrooms planned for the new i.Lab venue. The new i.Lab will host workshops, simulations, demonstrations and events throughout the year.

Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will further leverage the new facilities to host a range of experiential, hands-on venture-related programs. Among these will be VentureLab, an early stage incubator program open by application to any current student, faculty and staff at the University of Virginia or the UVA College at Wise, as well as recent UVA alumni. Opportunities for experienced entrepreneurs and other experts to serve as venture mentors and advisers will be available through the Batten Institute.

Check out this August 2019 post highlighting last summer’s i.Lab Incubator program, which will now be known as VentureLab starting this year. Startups included ethically sourced shea butter products, Parisian-inspired crepes, an online travel itinerary platform, a wearable virtual reality exoskeleton and more.

Read the full story on The Darden Report. For more information about the future home of the i.Lab and transition plans, please visit the Batten Institute’s Ventures FAQ.