Makerspace to Assist Student Entrepreneurs
A new educational Makerspace will be created in the Kent State University at Tuscarawas library utilizing a $23,996 grant received from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences’ Science and Technology Act (LSTA). The university will cost match the grant with $8000.
The Makerspace will provide equipment and materials to be utilized by students and community members to pursue entrepreneurial projects, bringing ideas and innovations to life.
“Some of the state-of-the-art equipment that will be purchased as part of the Makerspace project includes a vinyl laser cutter, a 3-D printer, a large format printer, Surface Pro computers and robotics kits,” said Cherie Bronkar, library director. “The Makerspace will enable the campus to increase digital and entrepreneurial literacy in Tuscarawas and surrounding counties.”
The library’s project partners are the campus’ Ohio Small Business Development Center (OSBDC), the Office of Business and Community Services and BlackStone LaunchPad. According to Bronkar, these partners are poised to provide training, education and support to participating budding entrepreneurs. They can assist the students to develop their ideas into solid marketable plans, which may also be further developed through the Tolloty Technology Incubator.
“Our campus is in a unique position to offer participants support for the innovative ideas created in the Makerspace,” commented Bronkar. “Our programs provide education, while the Makerspace provides inspiration and the means to test and apply the students’ education in ways that create new business ventures and marketable products.”
According to Steve Schillig, OSBDC District 10 Director, “The OSBDC feels very fortunate to collaborate with the library on this very worthwhile project. The mission of the Makerspace aligns itself very closely with ours, so it will be a natural extension of the OSBDC. I see a dual benefit for our organization. Our entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to take advantage of the newest and greatest hardware and software tools in digital design and fabrication and just as important; those individuals who choose to pursue a commercial application to their ideas can use the OSBDC as a support system to move it forward.”
Equipment for the Makerspace is scheduled to be installed and available for use for the fall semester.