The Wharton School has received a $25 million donation to fund the construction of the first-ever designated space for student entrepreneurship on Penn’s campus, Tangen Hall. The new hall will be around 70,000 square feet and located at the intersection of 40th and Sansom streets.
The AKO Foundation, the charity branch of hedge fund AKO Capital LLP, granted the donation which will also fund the Katja and Nicolai Tangen International Endowed Scholarship.
Katja Tangen and 1992 Wharton graduate Nicolai Tangen, founder and CEO of AKO Capital, recommended the AKO Foundation to fund the donation. The gift is part of the More Than Ever Campaign, which is part of the Power of Penn campaign, the most ambitious fundraising campaign Penn has ever undertaken. It also follows a $50 million gift to Wharton earlier this semester.
The donation’s scholarship fund will provide financial aid to international undergraduate students, who face unique concerns when applying for college as low income students.
“I’m very privileged to contribute to one of the University’s main goals, both entrepreneurship and innovation, but also the undergraduate financial aid program,” said Nicolai Tangen in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian.
In a press release, Penn President Amy Gutmann said the donation was an opportunity for “the best students from every part of the world to attend Penn, to thrive in their studies, and to serve communities worldwide.”
In partnership with the AKO Foundation, Tangen has supported 22 Penn students with scholarships since 2012. Additionally, he has served as a founding donor to Wharton People Analytics and a member of Wharton’s Board of Overseer’s. He has also contributed to The Wharton Fund.
Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship and other student entrepreneurship programs across campus will come together in the Venture Lab at Tangen Hall. Other entrepreneurship-focused programs include the Goergen Entrepreneurial Management Program, Weiss Tech House, Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center, Wharton Small Business Development Center, and the master’s-level Integrated Product Design Program.
Current plans for the building include a test kitchen for food-centric startups, a Maker Lab operated by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, a virtual reality cave, and a storefront retail space where students can sell their products. Construction will start in 2019.
“Tangen Hall is a ‘start-here’ button for Penn students interested in entrepreneurship,” said Wharton Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Karl Ulrich.
“The building itself will serve as a landmark and beacon … in addition to the new resources [the building] has to offer, it consolidates the wealth of existing resources which are often uncoordinated and hard to access.”