By Heather Lusk
Coworking with a twist is coming to Boone County.
The Innovation Hub will add a makerspace to the traditional coworking concept. Although office space and business tools are shared in a coworking space, materials and equipment for inventing and tinkering are shared in a makerspace.
“The makerspace is really looking at innovation,” said Ben Worrell, deputy director for the Boone County Economic Development Corp, which is leading the initiative. “That captures the essence of both the coworking side and the makerspace side.”
Access to the space would be available through a membership.
“It’s not being put in as a competitive product to zWORKS by any means,” Worrell of the Zionsville-based coworking space. “(It is) a collaborative effort and expansion of the great things that are already happening at zWORKS.”
Three locations offer a makerspace area around Indianapolis but this would be the first for Boone County. The Innovation Hub is expected to be in the former Bill Estes car dealership lot near downtown Lebanon through a partnership between BCEDC and the City of Lebanon’s Redevelopment Commission.
The design of the Lebanon location might be modeled on the makerspace Ruckus in Indianapolis, according to Worrell. There is no timeline for opening, according to BCEDC Executive Director Molly Whitehead, but she anticipates activity at the location in 2018.
Worrell hopes this will build collaboration between members of the makerspace and manufacturers in Boone County.
“From a workforce development standpoint we can look to the space to provide the one-on-one skills for our manufacturing partners out there,” Worrell said.
Items like 3-D printing, electronic circuitry, CNC machines and metalworking could potentially be tools in the Innovation Hub. The Boone County Economic Development Corp. is seeking input from those who might utilize the space before confirming what will be included. The survey is available at http://bit.ly/2i313PL until Dec. 15.