Greenbrier Space Balloon Launchers Among Innovation Center's Targeted Users

by Mark Carter  on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 9:59 am  

This shot was taken from near space, roughly 24 miles above the earth, from the Greenbrier High School space balloon that was launched in November by EAST Initiative students who will benefit from the Launch Pad.

The center will provide central Arkansas entrepreneurs with their first true, comprehensive co-working space, and it'll offer the state's first maker space filled with the latest tech toys, including 3-D printers and robotics. Plus, it'll provide the STEAM Room space for EAST students from high schools across the state to get hands-on experience, and through the Arts Connection, entrepreneurs will be given opportunities to introduce visual elements into their work, and students will learn entrepreneurship through the arts.

It's a model unique in all the country, Sabin believes -- combining the four elements of co-working, maker space, education and the arts under one roof. Partnerships are planned with local businesses and schools and the center will offer various membership levels for individuals, the details of which are still being worked out.

But students will represent a big part of the center, which will open as youth entrepreneurship seems to be exploding in Arkansas:

And now, students in Greenbrier are launching space balloons. For them, the Launch Pad couldn't have come at a better time. Gordon believes shop and computer class now are essentially the same thing, and sees the Innovation Center as a potential pipeline taking in the state's young talent, cultivating it, and creating job opportunities that'll help keep that talent in Arkansas. 

"We're heading for the next space race," he said. "We've got to get the kids now."

Sabin wants to capitalize on the potential to create a true innovation corridor reaching from Argenta down Main Street in Little Rock.

"This is the economic development strategy for the 21st century for Arkansas," he said. "In terms of return on our investment, we're always better off growing companies in Arkansas. Just a few success stories like we're already seeing in Arkansas will attract other companies and more young talent, and help grow an organic economy. This is a way to turbo charge it."



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