WELLESLEY, MA–Babson College has announced plans to build a new facility designed to host student-led projects involving product development and the launch of new enterprises. Babson invited Olin College faculty, academic leaders, students, and staff to be co-designers of the facility to enhance the potential for cross-campus collaboration.
Students will be able to take their business and product ideas from concept through prototyping, doing everything from building small electronics to creating new clothing lines to developing the next generation of apps—all in a building intended to be run by the student entrepreneurs themselves.
Strategically located on the western edge of the Babson campus and within view of Olin’s Academic Center, the 9,800-square-foot multiuse facility will combine programming, prototyping, and maker spaces with flexible classrooms that will be available to students enrolled at both institutions.
The building will be known as the Weissman Foundry, named in honor of devoted Babson alumnus and trustee Robert Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90 and his wife Janet. The term “foundry” came from a special student-facing competition, and is especially fitting given its historical reference to places where objects are made through physical labor. This will be a “maker space” that is about hands-on experimentation and prototyping, well beyond concept ideation. The Weissman Foundry will be a multi-college workshop where entrepreneurs of all kinds can join one another and become the founders of tomorrow’s products and enterprises.
The new building will feature “messy” spaces in which students can work on, and house, projects for long periods of time, offering them the ability to fully realize their ideas and take full advantage of the facility’s many resources.
Students can look forward to the use of modern technologies and tools, including 3D printers, large-format printers, and laser cutters, as well as other industry-specific equipment, such as sewing machines, soldering equipment, and computer boards. The Weissman Foundry will also be home to a kitchen that will be used for cooking demonstrations and events, in addition to flexible office space, a conference room, and more.
The Weissman Foundry will advance the work of faculty, students, and researchers associated with all of Babson’s academic centers, including the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), and the Lewis Institute.
“Students from Babson and Olin colleges are already taking courses together and working on joint businesses as part of our Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab and Summer Venture Program,” said Babson College President Kerry Healey. “With the addition of the Weissman Foundry, which includes fabrication equipment that complements Olin’s facilities, our students will be even better equipped to use their collaborative business, engineering, and liberal arts educations in creating more impactful economic and social value everywhere.”
Babson College Provost Michael Johnson is working closely with academic and student representation to ensure the design and use of this space will fit the needs of their combined communities.
“The Weissman Foundry will leverage the interest that students have around innovation and design,” said Babson College Provost Michael Johnson. “We needed a space where our students can use their hands, get messy, and actually build things: where they can take ideas that develop from entrepreneurial thought and action and then transform them into actual prototypes. This new student-led and course-enriched environment will help realize the full potential of our collaboration.”
“I have no doubt that this new student-run innovation and fabrication center will provide a rich environment for students from Babson and Olin to collaborate and create innovative solutions that will benefit people the world over,” said Richard K. Miller, Olin College president. “We are very grateful to the Weissmans and to Babson for their leadership and commitment in establishing this project, which portends great results.”