Like all MBA programs, Harvard Business School teaches its students the value of time and money. It may have taught them a bit too well.
Alumni entrepreneurs weren’t willing to commit enough of their own resources to support a co-working space HBS ran in New York. The space will close amid disappointing turnout for its events, and after tenants said they would look elsewhere if Harvard no longer subsidized the rent, according to Jodi Gernon, who directs HBS’s entrepreneur center in Boston.
The HBS Startup Studio opened in January 2016, and since April of that year has been in a WeWork location near Union Square in Manhattan. The space was conceived as a venue to bring together Harvard’s New York-based alumni and provide them with programming, like networking evenings and case studies taught by Harvard professors. The university, through donors, paid almost half the WeWork rent, providing an incentive for entrepreneurs to relocate.
While some events were well attended, there just wasn’t enough demand for them to justify continuing to provide the space, Gernon said. When a survey of the alumni tenants indicated they would relocate for cheaper digs if Harvard ended the subsidy, the university decided to shut down the program.
There were about 45 entrepreneurs using the space, and about 1,000 people took apart in the various events over the years. Current tenants have until Sept. 30 to look for a new home.