Argenta Innovation Center in North Little Rock To Be 1st Phase of Regional Hub

by Mark Carter  on Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013 12:54 pm  

As of July, the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub listed 24 official partners and supporters, including Tennille, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson, the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, Gov. Mike Beebe, University of Arkansas System President Don Bobbitt, Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Director Dan Curtis and Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines.

Talent, Inspiration

The three components to the Innovation Center will be interconnected, and officials aim to create a "kinetic mix of talent and inspiration." Entrances to the Art Connection and Silver Mine will front West Fourth while the Fab Lab entrance will front Poplar.

The Silver Mine, like the Iceberg co-working space in Fayetteville, will serve as a community for the region's entrepreneurs and offer full- and part-time memberships as well as day passes. It'll offer high-speed Internet, conference space, dedicated and open co-working spaces, and open spaces for presentations and community events.

Lowry, a local entrepreneur/designer and one of the driving forces behind the Silver Mine, said the space will give many local entrepreneurs forced to work out of coffee shops a place to call home.

"They'll have a place to collaborate, share and build," Lowry said. He believes the establishment of a formal co-working space in central Arkansas could have a big effect on the local economy.

The Fab Lab will capitalize on the "maker space" trend, affording an introduction to engineering education for students on field trips, and serve as an "open-source hub" for where "engineers, tinkerers and entrepreneurs" can use advanced technologies to turn their ideas into something tangible.

The Art Connection teaches North Little Rock High School students about entrepreneurship through art and promotes higher education. Last fall's inaugural class included 20 students chosen from about 200 applicants, and plans are to serve up to 60 students annually.

For more information and to see the full floor plan, visit and



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