By Andy Tillman
Imagine crossing the bridge of time and bringing together Henry Ford’s efficiency, Thomas Edison’s brilliance, Benjamin Franklin’s practicality and Steve Jobs’ imagination into one room, putting all of the necessary accoutrements within arm’s reach … Oh, what might have been.
The launch of UCLA’s Anderson Venture Accelerator doesn’t get us any closer to time travel — yet — but it does, most profoundly, make it a place where future Franklins, Jobses, Fords and Edisons can think and talk and grow ideas that just might change the world.
The Anderson Venture Accelerator is a 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility designed in association with the UCLA Library, for collaboration among aspiring Anderson entrepreneurs, students in the undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and campus researchers, with mentoring from alumni, entrepreneurs and the business community. Part living room, part laboratory, part conference center, the accelerator is a center where the various disciplines that make up the UCLA community can come together to bring new ideas and opportunities to life.
The accelerator’s launch was celebrated on UCLA Anderson’s Alumni Plaza, where an impressive roster of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, faculty, students and alumni gathered for an official opening. Dean Judy Olian led the inauguration, referring to the accelerator as a “living lab offering students and researchers an environment that triggers innovation and breakthrough ventures. It brings together students and faculty from across UCLA, including health and computer sciences, engineering and humanities, to develop new ventures, share success, think fearlessly and drive change.”