As some of you know, Marietta and Beyond has an office at the Armory inside the Epicenter. We’re moving soon. Read on for info on all of the wonderful things coming up at the Epicenter! Maybe there is something to help you launch or expand your business.
Expansion – Space for More Businesses
Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) is pleased to announce the expansion of the Epicenter at 107 Lancaster Street, The Tenney Building. The Epicenter opened January 2017 at Armory Square in Marietta. The first phase of the Epicenter established the first small business incubator in Marietta that also incorporates youth development programs. The Epicenter is a program of the community group BB2C, which was created in 2012. BB2C is dedicated to bridging the gap between education and employment for all students by providing information and experiences, and making connections.
Community Hub for 4 Counties – Washington, Morgan, Noble, and Wood
The expansion of the Epicenter allows it to become a community hub serving a 4-county region. The business incubator capacity will immediately increase housing 3 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to 6, with the capability to serve unlimited affiliate members and a la carte members. Additionally, the Epicenter will add a makerspace, a community workshop, with three distinct spaces, including woodworking, arts and technology. This facility also provides the benefit of having room to expand as interest in Epicenter programming and usage grows, including capacity to help area youth develop a career path. Students, parents, seniors, businesses, families, tinkerers, researchers, designers, etc. will be able to utilize the Epicenter to build and support their ideas. Multi-generational innovation can lead to economic growth for the area.
More Than a Biz Incubator – An Innovation Station!
BB2C Epicenter activities planned for the expansion include activities targeted to small businesses, youth and students as well as community members. “For small businesses and potential entrepreneurs business mentoring and coaching, management classes and networking, internships, links to business resource providers, shared office resources, and innovation challenges to spark new ideas will all be provided,” stated Pamela Lankford, Director of the Epicenter.
New Opportunities for Youth and Students
“Youth and students will be able to explore careers and try out different ideas, learn from the entrepreneurs-in-residence and Epicenter members through job shadowing, internships, career mentoring, and problem-based learning experiences, “added Tasha Werry, Executive Director of Building Bridges to Careers.
Bret Allphin, Board Member and Development Director at Buckeye Hills Regional Council, completed the offerings of the Epicenter by saying, “Community Members can participate in makerspace workshop programs and classes with experts in a variety of fields. Additionally, this expansion will allow the increase of community networks by providing access to collaboration space activities and a variety of equipment.”
Partnering with the Appalachian Ohio Innovation Gateway Network – Grant and Support
The Epicenter is one of 3 locations for the Appalachian Ohio Innovation Gateway Network launched by Buckeye Hills Regional Council. Buckeye Hills was awarded $1.2 million by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support start-up of the gateways. The Innovation Gateway Network focuses on increasing employment and prosperity through alternative learning and career pathways. It will serve residents in eight Ohio counties (Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry & Washington) and Wood County in West Virginia.
“Buckeye Hills Regional Council is pleased that the Appalachian Ohio Innovation Gateway Network project was funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission. We are excited for the network project launch and how it will help workers and communities to recover employment and income, strengthen and diversify local economies and grow, retain and attract talent to the region,” said Buckeye Hills Regional Council Executive Director, Misty Casto.
More Innovation and Opportunities for the Area
The Innovation Gateway Network will consist of multi-use facilities, one each in Somerset, Nelsonville and Marietta, Ohio. Each facility will host an innovative program of learning, makerspace activities and development of entrepreneurs. The project ties together the efforts of three Appalachian communities, magnifying the impact of their work in addressing common challenges.
Casto added that a variety of anchor regional partners are supporting the Gateway’s success, including Ohio University LIGHTS program. LIGHTS leverages innovation gateways and hubs such as the Innovation Gateway, the BB2C and the Epicenter, creating sustainability in a much broader portion of the Appalachian region. More on how LIGHTS does this.
For more information on Building Bridges to Careers, including the Epicenter, visit buildingbridgestocareers.org or call the Epicenter at 740-370-6399.