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Creators Co-op launches for-students-by-students biz incubator

The co-founders of the Creators Co-op know there are a number of small business incubators and co-working spaces dedicated toward the tech industry in Ann Arbor. But they didn't see anything that really fits the needs of student entrepreneurs with an independent streak. That's why they are launching their venture just off the University of Michigan's campus this fall.

"We want to create a safe space for students, by students," says Nancy Xiao, general manager & co-founder of Creators Co-op. "It's a mixture of co-working space and a professional-style fraternity."

Xiao is a senior at the University of Michigan and a member of the university's MPowered student entrepreneurship program. She met former U-M football player Dhani Jones at a university event in Cincinnati a few years ago after speaking about the need for more entrepreneurial space for studentpreneurs. The pair hit it off and have since formed a core team of eight people to launch the Creators Co-op.

They have secured a brick, tudor-style house at 631 Oxford, which is right next to a bus stop for the university bus line that connects Central and North campuses. The space will be open to university students who want to launch any sort of business. It will differentiate itself from the like of Ann Arbor SPARK, Tech Brewery and Workantile because it will be student-oriented. It is different than TechArb, U-M tech incubator for students, because it is independent from the university and will help students build any sort of business that interests them.

Creators Co-op is sorting through applications for student entrepreneurs this fall and hopes to welcome its first class of about 30 people during the winter semester. The co-op will offer business-building and entrepreneurial mentoring services. It also hopes to work with a number of successful local business people to help the students matriculate into parts of the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"A lot of it is geared toward building great people," Xiao says.

Source: Nancy Xiao, general manager & co-founder of Creators Co-op
Writer: Jon Zemke
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