A day in the life at Startup Village is hectic with the University of Maryland students and alumni working on business projects from 8 a.m. to as late as midnight. It’s not uncommon for collaborators to crash on the couch, said David Engle, co-founder and executive director of Startup Village and a 2015 spring graduate of this university.
Startup Village is a group of students and alumni affiliated with this university who create their own businesses. Their companies range from Engle’s food truck business, The Q Truck, to Javazen, a tea-infused coffee establishment. Engle said the 10 members who live in the houses on Metzerott Road are expected to release new products within the next two months, but he cannot disclose them yet.
“It’s literally just mayhem constantly in the Startup Village house, every business is trying to grow,” Engle said.
The initial Startup Village house launched in January, and is owned by this university. The second house, located next to the original, was launched Monday but is owned by a separate landlord. People interested in joining email the group, and Engle and other members speak with them to see if the village would be a good fit. Ten members live in the houses, but it’s not required to join.
The City of College Park held an event earlier in the summer to familiarize the College Park community with Startup Village.
“The community we’re trying to build is not just Startup Village members,” Engle said. It includes the city community as a whole.
Engle’s food truck, The Q Truck, launched Monday, but it’s scheduled to launch officially on Sept. 2 at the food truck hub located on Route 1.
The Startup Village will make the city a center for innovation, Mayor Patrick Wojahn said. This housing project is also a part of the Greater College Park initiative to revitalize downtown College Park, according to UMD Right Now.
“I think it’s a great program, it helps young entrepreneurs to get the resources they need,” Wojahn said.
Wojahn said Startup Village ties in with the city’s application to be a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone, or RISE zone, which allows commercial businesses close to this university to receive tax breaks, according to an April Diamondback article.
“The goal is to create companies that stay in College Park,” Engle said, adding that Startup Village is looking forward to the city becoming a RISE zone.
“You have this amazing network of people that are now living together … it’s how the community’s growing,” Engle said. There are more than 40 students and entrepreneurs on the waiting list to live in Startup Village, he said.