These Nashville Makerspaces Redefine What it Means to Learn
By Justin Stokes
Even though most students went back to school at the beginning of the month, there’s still plenty of excitement in the air about all things educational.
Education doesn’t have to end when you finish school, either—there are plenty of opportunities for thinkers and tinkerers to learn new skills, advance existing ones or just delve into uncharted territory. That’s where makerspaces and innovation centers come in.
Between makerspaces, business incubators, coworking spaces, continuing education classes and meetups, Nashville is full of opportunities to gain new knowledge or skills no matter where you are in life.
As the new official home of the Nashville Technology Council, Tech Hill Commons is an innovator’s dream with some killer amenities. The 9,500 square-foot space has two conference rooms and Star Trek-like video conferencing hardware, and it’s prime territory for meeting and learning from other innovators.
Tech Hill Commons hosts regular events like Open Hack Nights, Coding for a Cause, Women Get IT, the infamous NashCocktails and numerous classes and programs. Check out their full event calendar for more.
Members of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC) have access to resources including 3D printing, meeting rooms, educational programs, treadmills, standing desks, online directories and enhanced Wi-Fi. With educational resources including industry-specific projects in music and healthcare, entrepreneurs are in good hands at the NEC. The facility is also home to Nashville’s Bunker Labs chapter.
The Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC) is one of the oldest accelerators in the area. The NBIC offers three incubator programs focusing on student entrepreneurs, incubation residencies and more flexible incubation setups. The center also offers business coaching, management and technical assistance and events that teach how to protect clients from cyber threats and proper social media use—all invaluable topics for budding entrepreneurs and innovators.
Of course, some spaces are better suited for people interested in industry-specific knowledge areas. Jumpstart Foundry is a “seed-stage healthcare innovation fund” perfect for entrepreneurs who are partially funded and ambitious in the healthcare sphere. Think of Jumpstart Foundry as a seat at the big kids table, where the connections with partner hospitals, organizations and innovators looking to solve health-related problems are numerous.
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Launch Tennessee is a group often name-dropped at events like the 36/86 Conference, and rightfully so. In almost six years, Launch Tennessee has screened more than 5,000 businesses, and its accelerator-assisted companies have raised $138 million. Their partner list includes IBM, Dell, J.P. Morgan and a supergroup of other financial titans.
Launch Tennessee also works with local students in various entrepreneurial programs to educate and train the next batch of southeastern entrepreneurs.
What’s your favorite space in Nashville to make or learn something new? Let us know.