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Michael Radice, Deseret News
The $45 million Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute will be home to 400 students to launch their new companies while still in school at the University of Utah. The building will be ready for those 400 student innovators and entrepreneurs to move in by fall 2016.

SALT LAKE CITY — A worldwide search is underway for 400 students to participate in a new and unique college program at the University of Utah.

The program is specially designed for student entrepreneurs and aims to take applied learning to a whole new level.

Soon a construction site in the middle of the University of Utah campus will transform into the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

"We're really going to create a 24-hour immersive learning experience," said Troy D'Ambrosio, the institute's executive director. "We have these really unique micro-rooms which are inside of a big open area."

It will include micro-pod living spaces for students to sleep in.

"Four-hundred lucky students will get to live in this learning, living environment," D'Ambrosio said.

The rest of the building is all business — literally.

"Space where students can launch their companies and run them out of here for a period of time while they're still students, and actually get their business up and running," D'Ambrosio said.

The $45 million institute will be dedicated to all students to work with selected student entrepreneurs such as Alex Carr to help bring their ideas to life.

Carr is a junior at the U. and is studying design. He's also a very successful entrepreneur — the creator and founder of Char-Poles. He calls it the Swiss army knife of ski poles.

"We can't keep them stocked," Carr said. "As soon as they land, they ship out."

From thumbing through his first design sketches to seeing where he is now, Carr said he has his school to thank for his success.

"I owe everything to the University of Utah for this," he said.

Carr said he's anticipating a positive reply from his application into the program.

"It really is a pretty incredible opportunity for any student," he said. "I just hope to be one."

The building will be ready for those 400 student innovators and entrepreneurs to move in by fall 2016. The institute is also offering $3 million in scholarships.

Email: nvowell@deseretnews.com