August 14, 2018 10:36:01 AM
On Monday, Mississippi State University held an event to announce its plans for a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agricultural designed to build on the university's entrepreneurship program by providing a place where new start-ups can develop, build and test prototypes of their products.
It's called a "makerspace" and represents the next logical step in the university's entrepreneurship program, which began on the second floor of McCool Hall on campus in 2009 and has since grown to 12,000 square feet in that building while adding a business incubator facility at the Thad Cochran Research Park.
Yet in another respect, this makerspace will serve another important function.
For the average Starkville resident, what has been happening in this program has gone largely unnoticed.
For some projects, that makes sense. But what is happening with this program is not the Los Alamos Project. The more exposure this program can generate, the better.
By locating this latest phase of the center in downtown Starkville -- on East Main Street between Aspen Bay and Moe's Original BBQ - the innovative work of the next generation of Mississippi entrepreneurs will be on display. For the entrepreneurs, having the space and equipment to develop their products is enhanced by having a visible space where those product can be test-marketed to the public.
We believe pulling back the curtain and allowing regular people to see that work may inspire others to pursue their own dreams.
In a state where we are losing so many of our highly-educated and ambitious young people to opportunities in other states, the visible presence of these start-ups should serve as an encouragement and proof that you don't have to leave home to go places in the world of innovation.
The "makerspace" will be an immediate aid to current entrepreneurs, but its presence downtown is a nod to the future inventors who may catch the fire of creativity as a result of the work being done there.