May 2, 2013

PROVO — Camp 4 officially opened this morning and will begin helping entrepreneurs with building their startup businesses in a few weeks.

A mix of seasoned entrepreneurs, university faculty, elected officials and university students were at the ribbon cutting, marking the completion of a project collaborated with Provo City, Utah County, BoomStartup, BYU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, The Startup Group and Innovation Network.

“Thanks to one and all for making this possible. It is really a significant day, as we work together to find opportunities to create more business opportunities,” Gov. Gary Herbert said.

He said the state is becoming globally recognized as leading the nation out of the recession, and Forbes has chosen Utah for the third consecutive year as the best place in America for business and careers.

One of the reasons Utah is doing well economically is because leaders have fostered that growth, he said. Camp 4 is an example of what can happen when differences are put aside and people work together.

The excitement generated by Camp 4 indicates the partners were motivated by the initial proposal.

“This was an idea that the moment I heard it, I liked it,” Provo Mayor John Curtis said.

“It’s interesting in conversations with Google, this is exactly why they came here in Provo. They saw the entrepreneurial spirit and not a lot of people know what to do with a gig of speed but my guess is those in this room right here want to try,” Curtis said.

Calling Camp 4 the rocket ship for their future, chief intern Colt Henrie said he is really excited for Camp 4.

“This is going to be one of the first sites that Google Fiber is going to be hooking up to,” he said.

“After Google Fiber made its announcement, the next day they sent a representative down to meet us and they said this is one of the reasons they chose Provo, they love the entrepreneurial spirit that’s here,” Henrie said.

The opening of the physical facility for Camp 4 moves the construction of accelerator into its next phase. Next week, selection committee members will meet with people or teams who want to get into the BoomStartup program to hear their presentations.

The pioneer for Utah’s first startup incubator program, John Richards is energized and ready. The founder and co-owner of BoomStartup, he modeled his tech starter after Y-Combination and TechStars begun in 2005 and 2006. In its fourth year, Camp 4 will be BoomStartup’s new home.

“Of all the things I’ve been involved in, which I’ve been in many from Utah Angels to this, what is happening right now in this space as Mayor Curtis said feels the best, feels right, will really impact and make a difference in this part of our state and I’m so excited for us,” Richards said.

BYU students will be moving into Camp 4 on May 13, and the BoomStartup members move in June 3, he said. Jeff Burningham is Richards’ BoomStartup partner and owner of Peak Capital. He will be co-managing Camp 4’s BoomStartup.

UVU representatives from the Entrepreneurship Institute were at the Camp 4 opening as well.

“It’s exciting to see the entrepreneurship ecosystem in this valley continue to grow and develop. Camp 4 is off-the-charts for cool co-working space for emerging tech ventures. Camp 4 and team are bound to rank up there with TechStars, Y-Combinator, and other nationally recognized tech accelerators in years to come,” UVU Institute director Shauna Theobald said.

Housed in the historic Startup Candy factory building built in 1884 on 580 S. 100 East in Provo, Camp 4’s second-floor great room has the original rough hewn timbers as support columns. The cement floor has been painted and sealed, the bricks of the building cleaned and repaired. Old faded signage on the exterior walls have been given a fresh coat of paint.

Sheets of plywood have been painted and glazed for tables, and lighting is installed. At the south end of Camp 4 is a bike lock pen, lockers and a climbing wall. The austere looking room is ready for 20 or so teams of thinkers and doers to begin their dreams. Young students in jeans, T-shirts, a state security bodyguard speaking into a mic scanning the area to give the all clear for the Utah governor; young entrepreneurs who have shrugged on suit coats for the occasion, and successful business owners and investors wearing designer suits have gathered for the historical opening.

A loud buzz of talking fills the room. Richards is intent in listening to some of his students who came to the event. He said helping them succeed regenerates, builds and fosters an environment of success for everyone.

“Super energizing, this is exactly what an ecosystem needs is to bring a hub that brings all these parties coming together in a cooperative way,” Richards said and smiled.

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