After almost a year and a half of brain storming, Penn State’s future innovators have a physical address at the newly opened Innoblue Garage.
Tucked away behind the Fraser Street parking deck, what once was a vacant 911 emergency dispatch room has been transformed into a 1,050 sq. ft. creative commons for collaborative entrepreneurship.
As of yesterday, innovators from Penn State, State College, and surrounding areas can use the space as not only as a workshop but as a networking facility for finding local talent. For inventors looking for a marketing whiz, or businessmen looking for team members, the Innoblue garage is hoping to be a breeding ground for start-up ingenuity.
“We’re trying to bring all of the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Drew Mohoric, chief operating officer and president of the non-profit Innoblue group. “This space embodies our mission: innovate, collaborate and create.”
Mohoric hopes that soon the newly assembled work benches and whiteboards will be a flurry of creative construction. Innoblue is for those who “aren’t just thinking but taking action and building things,” he said. The garage is a living example of that doctrine.
With the sponsorship of State College borough and unwavering determination from Innoblue club members, in just two and a half weeks the drab cork-board walls were replaced with lively blue paint, lava lamps, stacks of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and the buzz of innovation. This meant many “4 a.m. nights” for Mohoric and his crew who made sure that the garage was ready for yesterday’s debut.
Three separate areas have been designated to enrich the collaborative experience. There is a work space of desks and benches that can be cleared out to house around 40 people for various events. There is a social room with a couch which is designed for a ‘hang out’ type atmosphere. And there is a private storage area that can be used by keep track of work flow and even incorporate start-up businesses with a permanent locale-something not offered by on-campus facilities.
All of this is part of the effort to make those “rejecting the status quo” feel “at home” in the Innoblue garage, Mohoric said. Entrepreneurs now have an added tool in their quest to create the future.