The University of Phoenix announced on Tuesday that it will be debuting a first-of-its-kind innovation center in downtown Las Vegas. In partnership with Iron Yard Ventures, the hands-on RedFlint Innovation Experience Center is expected to open in September. “The center will provide individuals, startups and established businesses, access to the latest technology and business ideas to help them perform at a high caliber today, and learn how to be nimble and relevant for tomorrow,” the University said in a statement.
Some of the issues that RedFlint will address include stagnation inside established businesses, limited resources for entrepreneurs and startup ventures, and individuals who feel behind on the technology curve. The center will have three full-time employees, and up to 10 part-time technology specialists, plus additional resources as needed for workshops and special events.
RedFlint will focus on the Las Vegas business, education, and government communities. But what really sets it apart is that it will be open to the public. While other startup incubators charge tenants for the office location and services provided, this one will be available to casual walk-ins. (The University also offers helpful free tech workshops for the public, like on visualizing data, and protecting yourself from hackers.)
Innovation, as the experts of the 2015 BCLS panel Business Strategies for the Next Decade emphasized, is critical for progress, whether or not there are existing markets for it. Opening up these supportive resources to the public is a terrific idea that should be scaled up elsewhere.