Rendering of Jack Jabs Event Center

Jake Jabs Event Center groundbreaking at Business School

$12 million gift from Jake Jabs funds center to host major events, enhance educational experience

October 2, 2018

The University of Colorado Denver Business School and the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship today broke ground on the Jake Jabs Event Center, a signature event and educational amenity designed for the growing Business School’s future needs.

Set to open spring 2020, the event center is partially funded by a $12 million gift from American Furniture Warehouse Founder and CEO Jake Jabs. Half of the donation, $6 million, is allocated to the event center, which is a $11 million development project. The other $6 million Jabs gave will provide long-term support for programming, scholarships, research and more at the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship.

Jake Jabs, CEO of American Furniture Warehouse and donor:

“I have been proud to support CU Denver Business School for a number of years because I believe in the importance of higher education. With the growing interest in entrepreneurship education at this level, this new addition of the event center, auditorium and additional classrooms will make the Jake Jabs Center For Entrepreneurship and CU Denver Business School bigger and better than ever!”

CU Denver Business School Dean Rohan Christie-David:

“Jake’s gift of $12 million dollars is transformative. The gift impacts our students, faculty, and staff by providing the resources to strengthen academic offerings in entrepreneurship. The gift also helps our students to participate further in programs and events, which allow them to apply classroom skills in practical ways.”

Dr. Madhavan Parthasarathy, executive director, Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship:

“Jake’s transformational gift has helped the CU Denver Business School rise to the cutting edge of entrepreneurship education. It has greatly helped us forge new relationships with other schools both within and without the CU Denver University system, pursue international collaborations, design and run events such as THE CLIMB | Business Plan Competition, improve both the content and the experiential delivery of entrepreneurship courses, and provide scholarships.”

Rendering of auditorium space
Rendering of 90-seat auditorium on third floor of event center

Jake Jabs Event Center – Facility Facts

The addition to the CU Denver Business School building at 1475 Lawrence Street replaces the underutilized courtyard facing the Larimer Street Alley. By activating this space, the Business School plans to participate in Denver’s Functional Alley Movement.

Architect: Stantec
Builder: JE Dunn Construction
Cost: $11 million total construction cost, $6 million of which was donated by Jake Jabs.

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First Floor

  • 300+ seat event space with state-of-the-art audio-video systems and video walls
  • 60-seat classroom
  • Catering kitchen
  • Donor recognition wall

Second Floor

  • New headquarters and office space, Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship
  • 50-seat classroom
  • Three conference rooms: small, medium and large
  • Incubation lab space

Third Floor

  • 90-Seat auditorium
  • Two seminar rooms


Additional Quotes – Dr. Madhavan Parthasarathy:

On Jake Jabs Event Center: “Thanks to Jake’s patronage, we are building an amazing, cutting-edge event center and auditorium and a new, contemporary home for the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship.”

On origin of relationship with Jake Jabs: “My first meeting with Jake Jabs was when he spoke in my entrepreneurial marketing course about 15 years ago. The students, needless to say, were both enamored by his celebrity status as well as the incredible content of his presentation. At the end of the class, Jake came up to me and said, ‘Your students are impressive, and you are obviously a good teacher, but you need to make the class more experiential – more connected to real entrepreneurs and the Colorado ecosystem.’ I am proud to say, we are now closely connected with some of Colorado’s greatest entrepreneurs who act as teachers, guest speakers, mentors, and advisors.”

On Jake Jabs’ impact: “Outside of Mr. Jabs’ monetary gift, he has also provided myself, the entrepreneurship faculty, and students with advice, mentoring and knowledge… nuggets of wisdom that are indeed priceless. He has counseled, advised, and otherwise touched more than 500 CU Denver students. Jake Jabs is perhaps the world’s greatest furniture entrepreneur, and it is my honor to have a close friendship with him.”

Building for the future

The CU Denver Business School expansion is one of several capital projects underway as part of the CU Denver Facilities Master Plan. Goals of the ten-year plan include: accommodating enrollment growth, enabling educational excellence, enhancing on-campus student life and integrating the university with the City of Denver. Other major projects contributing to CU Denver’s campus evolution include the recently opened Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center and recently announced search for a development partner to build a new first-year residence hall and develop vacant land near the existing Campus Village Apartments.

Rendering of incubation space
Incubation space and innovation labs will support a community of entrepreneurs