Argenta Innovation Center announced | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Argenta Innovation Center announced

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Capture.JPG

An impressive lineup of businessmen and state and city officials announced this morning the creation of the Argenta Innovation Center, a place for entrepreneurial start ups in digital technology and engineering experimentation that will fill out the building now occupied by the Art Connection at 204 E. 4th St. in North Little Rock.

Arkansas Economic Development Director Grant Tennille; Barry Hyde, of Hyde Co. contractors; and Chris Masengill, co-chair of the Delta Regional Authority, talked about the need for the state to support creativity and new business. Tennille cited Forrest Wood as an example of what one person can do for the economy's, saying the boat business Wood started in his garage turned into a worldwide lifestyle industry, spawning television shows and clothing. "It started with a simple idea ... and it grew," Tennille said. The Innovation Center will be "a place for people with great ideas to come together."

An enthusiastic Masengill said, "I don't know what's in the water over here in Argenta, but it's exciting." He said the Innovation Center will create a "pipeline" of ideas and an "ecosystem" that generates new manufacturing jobs all over the state. State Rep. Warwick Sabin sounded the same note, saying that all of Central Arkansas should get behind the Argenta center.

The Art Connection, an after-school work program connected to the arts now a year old, will be joined by the Silver Mine, a collaborative work space for entrepreneurs similar to the Icebox in Fayetteville, and the Fab Lab, a maker space open to the community equipped with computers and a 3D printer. Hyde said the budget for acquiring, renovating and equipping the building is $2.5 million, and nearly half of that has been raised. Building owners Harold Tenenbaum and Jack Grundfest discounted the building sale cost by $350,000 to $900,000, so enough has been raised so far to purchase the building. Renovation should cost $1.2 million and furnishings $400,000. The Art Connection and tenants in the Silver Mine will lease space from the owner of the building, the Argenta Arts Foundation; access to the community Fab Lab will be through memberships.

The Argenta Innovation Center has been in the planning stage for a couple of years by Argenta investor John Gaudin, whose idea the Art Connection was; Jerry Currence; Jack Grundfest; Harry Hamlin; Donna Hardcastle; former Mayor Patrick Hays; David Hudson; Arlton Lowry; John Rogers, Maurice Taylor and Dustin Williams. It is phase one of what will be known as the Regional Innovation Hub.

Press release on the jump.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK TO BE HOME

TO EXCITING ECONOMIC VENTURE

Argenta Innovation Center/Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

North Little Rock - The Capital Campaign Committee for the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub announced today that the region's next job creator and economic boon is well on its way to becoming reality.

The Argenta Innovation Center, which will be the first phase of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, will house three inter-connected ventures that will work together to provide education, training, prototyping and startup and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The Argenta Innovation Center will be the result of private and public investment. Having secured pledges for close to half of the $2.5 million project, the fund-raising for the Argenta Innovation Center now enters the public phase of its campaign.


"We strongly believe that by creating the Argenta Innovation Center, we are taking a significant step toward creating cutting-edge jobs that not only attract new talent to the area but also help us keep our brightest and most inventive entrepreneurs right here in Central Arkansas," said Barry Hyde, campaign committee chairman.


By retaining and attracting educated, creative entrepreneurs for Central Arkansas, the Argenta Innovation Center will add significantly to Central Arkansas's economy: studies show that for every 1 percent gain in college-degreed citizens, Central Arkansas stands to gain $534 million annually.

A similar venture - The Idea Village in New Orleans - boasts creating 2,000 jobs and generating $100 million each year.

The Argenta Innovation Center will house a kinetic mix of talent and inspiration. Students, workers and hobbyists - or learners, makers and doers - will find a creative coexistence in:

o The Silver Mine - a co-work community for the most creative entrepreneurs. Already, individual entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes are signing up to have employees placed in The Silver Mine in order to capitalize on the creative climate and exchange of ideas.

o Fab Lab - a space where youth and adults use advanced technologies make their ideas something tangible and sellable. During the day, the Fab Lab will be a natural field trip destination for Arkansas schools. Plus, the potential of introductory engineering education exists for middle school , high school and even college students. At night, the Fab Lab will be something of an "open-source" hub for makers of all ages. Already, companies are eager to support the Fab Lab as they know they will have a new source of bold ideas as well as skilled engineers and technicians.

o Art Connection - an innovative program where students from North Little Rock High School already are creating a future through art. Twenty students (out of 200 applicants) learned visual arts and entrepreneurial skills last year. At the beginning of the school year, only half of the students in the program expressed interest in pursuing higher education. Now, all do, and all five of the program's 2013 high school graduates are enrolled in four-year colleges.

"Place is an important factor in creating innovative centers and hubs," said committee member John Gaudin. "Argenta already provides the hip, urban culture that attracts the next generation of highly-skilled workers, so it's a natural location for the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. We're excited to kick-start the project with the Argenta Innovation Center."

The Argenta Innovation Center Capital Campaign Committee hopes to complete fund-raising efforts by the end of 2013 begin construction in January 2014 and open the Argenta Innovation Center in summer 2014.

More information about the Argenta Information Center is available at http://innovateargenta.com/and about The Silver Mine at www.argentasilvermine.com/.

Argenta Innovation Center...the next BIG idea!

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • 'Why urban freeway expansion is futile': A report that cites I-30 project

    Smart Mobility Inc. engineer Norm Marshall explains in this Congress for New Urbanism article why highway departments' arguments for highway widening fall short of reality (as the graphic above does as well): He says its because their modeling is out of whack, both in its estimates of the effect of expansion on travel times and the effectiveness of boulevards, and he uses the plan to widen Interstate 30 from six lanes of traffic to 12 or more as an example.
    • Aug 15, 2017
  • 2nd Friday Art Night: Photographs from Rohwer, UA Little Rock

    New UA Little Rock photography club holds first exhibit University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduates and students have started a new photography club and are displaying their skills at the club’s first photo exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
    • Aug 11, 2017
  • Restaurant inspections now online

    The state Department of Health is now posting retail food outlets inspection information on its website, and has posted a video on its Facebook page explaining its food inspection program and how to use the online search form.
    • Aug 11, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

  • City ethics update; campaign limit was supposed to help the little guy

    Some more history on the Little Rock city ordinance that limits candidates for mayor and City Board to raising campaign funds to five months before the November 2018 election. It raises questions not only about Warwick Sabin's fund-raising tactics, but also Mayor Mark Stodola's carryover money.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation