A new program in Greensboro is aimed at keeping young people in the area and promoting entrepreneurship. 

UNCG will serve as a national pilot for ThinkHouseU. A house in the Glenwood neighborhood near campus will be renovated to create a common space for students beginning in the fall semester.

WFDD contributor Justin Catanoso writes about the program this week in the Triad Business Journal. He says the idea behind ThinkHouseU is that by keeping college students in North Carolina after graduation, more business and jobs will be created.

“ThinkHouseU is this really interesting concept of taking a group of undergraduates and putting them together in the same house for a period of nine months where they can literally think together, brain storm, support each other with their ideas,” says Catanoso. “Each of these eight students will have some type of entrepreneurial concept, some new idea that they will be developing .”

The driving force behind ThinkHouseU is Christopher Gergen. He's the son of political analyst and Presidential advisor, David Gergen. He's also an investor in a Greensboro co-working space.

Gergen's ThinkHouse in Raleigh, which is focused on graduate students (while ThinkHouseU focuses on undergraduates) appears to be playing out that way. Of the seven budding entrepreneurs in the first grouping, Gergen says six are still working on their ventures and several are hiring employees.

“The key to all this is more intentional than simply luring a few creative kids into an affordable housing situation ($500 a month covers rent and utilities) and hoping for the best,” says Catanoso. “There is tailored programming and mentoring. There is access to the incubators, venture capital sessions and co-working spaces in Raleigh and Greensboro. And there is the expectation that all this support will deepen their commitment to the local community.”

The Business Report on 88.5 WFDD is a partnership with the Triad Business Journal. You'll find Justin Catanoso's column and more breaking business news at Triad.Bizjournals.com.

Justin Catanoso is director of the Journalism program at Wake Forest University and a regular contributor to 88.5 WFDD.

Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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