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New ASU lab promotes health-centric entrepreneurship

The new HEALab offers entrepreneurial opportunities for ASU students with health solutions

Students walk past Taylor Place on the Downtown Phoenix campus on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The HEALab is located on the south side of Taylor Place.

ASU students on the downtown Phoenix campus will now have more opportunities to make their innovative ideas a reality. 

The new Health Entrepreneurship Accelerator Lab (HEALab) is the first health-based lab for the ASU community to launch initiatives that focus entirely on healthcare solutions, according to the lab's website.

Rick Hall, clinical professor and director of health innovation programs, turned the concept of a health-focused entrepreneurship lab into a reality.

Hall said the new resource’s main goal is to help students come up with solutions to health problems, develop business plans around the problem, test their solutions and launch their ideas.

“We tell students that there’s no better place to start your venture than right now,” Hall said. “And there’s no better place to do it than right here, right at ASU.”

According to its website, the lab works with ASU’s Entrepreneurship + Innovation to support "startup activities by connecting students to its own resources, the knowledge base of the expert faculty and the resources of the university and community.”

While it hasn’t been on campus for very long, the HEALab has been met with favorable feedback overall.

“So far, we’ve had a very positive response, both from faculty and students,” Hall said.

And even though the lab is housed in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Hall said the lab is open to all students regardless of their major as long as they have a health-related problem they want to work on.

“We want to help them with their idea,” Hall said. “Whether that’s by helping them develop that idea, meet with mentors or potentially help them apply to funding opportunities that are available for students.”

Hall said four ASU students are working with the HEALab on their personal entrepreneurship ideas, ranging from aiding opium-addicted infants to health-centric cellphone applications.

Additionally, the HEALab will offer activities such as monthly speakers, networking sessions and mentor meetings. 

Megna Mishra, a sophomore studying kinesiology, said she’s glad to see a new outlet of innovation for health students.

“It was kind of disappointing seeing all the cool innovation that went with all the other colleges,” Mishra said. “I think it’s great that (health and nursing) students now have something downtown.”

Mishra said she is looking forward to seeing the new opportunities the HEALab will bring students.

It’s not just students who take classes on the downtown Phoenix campus who are excited about the HEALab.

Jason Cusimano, a sophomore studying medical microbiology, said that though he isn’t in CONHI, he still thinks the HEALab is a great resource.

“I’m happy that ASU decided to create the HEALab,” Cusimano said. “One of the features that I definitely plan on taking advantage of is the monthly speaker presentations.”

The HEALab will have its first guest speaker on Oct. 11, 2017 and an official grand opening ceremony on Nov. 8, 2017.

Reach the reporter at Kimberly.Rapanut@asu or follow @kimrapanut on Twitter

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