Doing What MATTERS for Small Business

Makerspace Project Brings Entrepreneurship to Inland Empire

From art studios to welding shops, makerspaces can be just about anything that you want them
to be — which is great when you are trying to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across a
variety of areas.

Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, Deputy Sector Navigator for Business and Entrepreneurship in the
Inland Empire/Desert Region, is leading an effort to bring the makerspace concept to colleges
throughout the region and provide a space for students, faculty, and community members to
collaborate and launch new ventures.

The Sub-Regional Business Incubator and Makerspace Project launched last year and has
taken off quickly since then. Stacy Jones is now serving as Regional Makerspace Director and
coordinating the work involved with bringing makerspaces to eight community colleges.
The following colleges are participating in the project:

  • Moreno Valley College
  • Riverside City College
  • Crafton Hills College
  • Mt. San Jacinto College
  • San Bernardino Valley College
  • College of the Desert
  • Barstow College
  • Chaffey College

Makerspaces typically include things like 3D printers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters, fabric printers,
CNC machining, and other industrial manufacturing— all things that are designed to encourage
creativity. Several colleges are also launching maker buses, which puts some of that same
equipment on a vehicle that can be taken to middle and high schools to encourage innovation
there.

Jones said the goals of the project are to help the public learn a new skill or trade, increase
enrollment in relevant community college courses, and encourage everyone to explore their
sense of curiosity that is often pushed aside for work, family, and school commitments.

“We are trying to help the colleges better serve the needs of their communities,” Jones said. “In
the long run, this will be a great benefit to the colleges because it gives people a chance to
explore with low-cost and low-risk to themselves.”

The project received additional assistance from Gary Beaudette, a makerspace consultant.
Beaudette presented a makerspace workshop on August 14 and a curriculum workshop on
August 16, and is offering consultation through December of 2018.

Keep an eye out as each college plans to host workshops for community and industry
involvement by teaching and mentoring in the Makerspaces. If you would like to learn more,
please contact your local community college and ask about their makerspace.

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