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Innovation Hubs – What, Where & Why?

Tracy Turner

Director of Events and Engagement

Driven by broad economic and demographic trends, cities around the world are witnessing the emergence of innovation districts. Innovation districts are dense hubs of economic activity where innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and placemaking intersect.

Innovation hubs come in many forms, from neighborhoods to planned, contained communities. These are creative, stimulating environments open to large corporations, universities, service providers and startups. Shared resources and exposure through partnerships with academia and industry create a vital landing for startups.  The goal is to create a motivating workspace and milieu where businesses of all kinds can learn from each other, make connections, develop new skills, and get inspired to reach the next level.

We see this in action at our Indianapolis location. Innovators and entrepreneurs in all fields –  including life sciences, technology, advanced manufacturing, engineering, social impact, food and lifestyle – come together to leverage their varied skill sets, draw inspiration from the region’s top-ranking research universities and global corporations, and channel their combined creative energy to plant the seeds for Central Indiana’s future economic growth. 

Pennovation Center, another innovation hub powered by 1776, is a business incubator and laboratory that aligns and integrates researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs for the commercialization of research discoveries. Intended to marry entrepreneurs with an expert workforce and scientifically advanced facilities, key features of the Pennovation Center are the common creative spaces, including coworking areas, a cafe, and a venue for events and programs.

Our campus at Cherry Hill Mall is an exciting innovation hub and workspace concept where entrepreneurs, makers, and businesses can work together in a collaborative environment. This location focuses on retail and e-commerce businesses, but also provides a breadth of resources available to a wide variety of industries. The workspace is connected to our Founders’ Market, which features different products from local makers and artisans.

Our company, like so many during the pandemic, was affected in a way that we had to shrink in order to expand. Regional stay-at-home orders forced unexpected and unfortunate campus closures. And consequently, our focus has shifted forward, identifying those underserved markets that have a ton of potential. Not Silicon Valley, not New York, not Boston – our hope is to serve those regions that may have been previously ignored yet are primed for growth. We can level the playing field, bring innovative opportunities and resources, access to capital, access to talent and mentors and create valuable programming to solve specific problems. Identifying a centralized location where myriad entities can connect with one another in robust and organic ways will spur rapid growth in innovative technologies, services and ideas which create employment and educational opportunities for these unique communities.

As we move forward intentionally in 2021, we’ll continue to partner with diverse communities and offer proven programmatic and innovative solutions to help startups build their business foundation and grow. We aim to be a catalyst for new and expanded businesses, creating more jobs and providing a platform for greater investment—all the ingredients needed for a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Tracy Turner

Director of Events and Engagement

Tracy brings a wide skill-set to the 1776 team. With over 20 years combined in incubator operations and membership management, she has built impactful relationships with the tech and nonprofit…