University joins 2112 music, tech incubator

Lorene Yue
September 07, 2017

Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is extending its mission outside of the classroom through its membership in the 2112 business incubator on Chicago's Northwest Side. DePaul University is now the first higher education member at two-year-old 2112, which aims to help startups related to the creative arts and technology.

"We believe by joining 2112 as an incubator for entrepreneurs in music, film and creative technology, we will reach a more diverse group of DePaul students and alumni who are interested in starting a business in these areas," says Bruce Leech, executive director for the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center in the Driehaus College of Business.

The membership is a combined effort from DePaul's College of Business, School of Music, College of Law and College of Computing and Digital Media. DePaul will have an office at the incubator where faculty can hold office hours and for students and alumni to conduct meetings. Leech says he hopes DePaul faculty will also be a resource for other 2112 members.

"This will help promote DePaul in our community which is a key component to the overall university mission," Leech says.

2112 is a 20,000-square-foot facility operating within Fort Knox Studios in Portage Park. The incubator launched in 2015 after Fort Knox Studios began attracting music-related businesses in the form of songwriters, producers, engineers, immigration lawyers, entertainment marketers, film production firms and music equipment-makers. The incubator's name refers to an album by Canadian rock band Rush.

"Providing DePaul University students with educational resources, physical workspace and real world industry experience perfectly aligns with 2112's vision to help define the future of the creative industries," says Scott Fetters, 2112's director. "It's a privilege for 2112 to support DePaul's long-standing commitment to its students."

Keyante Aytch, a junior studying management in the Driehaus College of Business, says he hopes to leverage DePaul's 2112 membership for his 3Dime Designs fashion startup.

"Film, business and music at DePaul are very much separated and 2112 provides a platform to collaborate," he says. "2112 is an extension of the classroom."

That's exactly the atmosphere DePaul is hoping to provide students through its membership.