Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship Establishes The Foundry for Start-Ups
Securing a location in the heart of downtown Storm Lake, The Foundry builds on BVU's commitment to grow local communities by offering a place to incubate start-up firms while providing co-working spaces for individuals and businesses.
Buena Vista University’s commitment to community engagement has taken another step forward this winter with the establishment of The Foundry at the heart of downtown Storm Lake.
The Foundry, an incubator and co-working space for start-up companies, is part of BVU’s Strategic Plan and a key component of The Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (LCRE), a bold initiative aiming to encourage economic development through support for entrepreneurs in the region.
“BVU and the Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship maintain their commitment to grow educational opportunities and stimulate economic development in Northwest Iowa,” says Gary Sterling, Director of the Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. “Supporting the efforts of entrepreneurs is essential to this commitment. The Foundry provides space to incubate start-up firms while providing co-working spaces for local and visiting persons in business. Additionally, The Foundry will one day host educational and community events.”
Located on “the bank corners” adjacent to The Daily Apple at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Fifth Street in Storm Lake, The Foundry is home to Levity, a tech start-up founded by computer science majors who are members of BVU’s Class of 2020. The custom software development firm occupies a portion of The Foundry’s spacious first floor, allowing room for other start-up firms to operate and expand within the site as renovation efforts by BVU continue across 2,500 square feet of potential office space.
“The Foundry will host enhanced learning experiences for our students while providing support services and education for businesses and entrepreneurs in our community.”
Dr. Brian Lenzmeier, President
There will be a space for lockers so those traveling or using the space may safely store items overnight. The first floor will also feature a pit-group area surrounding a fireplace, allowing visitors a cozy work or social space within which they may enjoy a cup of coffee from downtown Storm Lake.
The building itself is leased by BVU from Storm Lakers Dave and Barb Dvergsten. Dave Dvergsten, Chairman & CEO of Security Trust & Savings Bank in Storm Lake, is a longtime member of the BVU Board of Trustees.
“We are grateful to the Dvergsten family for making this wonderful downtown location available for BVU to lease with funding generously provided by Don and Charlene Lamberti, who share in the University’s vision to strengthen rural communities through entrepreneurship, innovation, business succession, and more,” says Sterling.
The site, which stands less than one mile from BVU’s Storm Lake campus, allows easy access for students, staff, and faculty, while enhancing the consumer experience downtown. The physical structure stands as a testament to the vision BVU has for growing communities through partnerships that work to encourage the dreams at the heart of every entrepreneur.
“The Foundry will serve as a workplace, incubating new companies through the disciplines of business planning, formation, and business launch,” says BVU President Brian Lenzmeier. “The Foundry will host enhanced learning experiences for our students while providing support services and education for businesses and entrepreneurs in our community.”
While no date has been set for a formal grand opening, current first-floor construction plans are expected to continue at The Foundry throughout the spring. A grand opening date is contingent upon the completion of renovation efforts and ongoing COVID-19 mitigation protocols.
For information about The Foundry and BVU’s Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, contact Gary Sterling at email@example.com or by calling 712.749.2419.