Illinois State University will create a hub based on the theme of Socio-Scientific Sustainability and featuring three focus areas: sustainable natural systems, sustainable social systems, and economic sustainability. While the first two areas will assemble numerous existing ISU assets, the third will entail development and construction of a makerspace and educational center, and the Bloomington-Normal Community Startup Incubator. This stands to be the first concerted, large-scale effort in McLean County to support and develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that leads to economic growth.

In partnership with Heartland Community College and local high schools, the makerspace and educational center will provide campus and community members with access to the cities' only makerspace while providing basic entrepreneurship education programs. It also will serve as an entry point to the ISU community for high school entrepreneurship programs, and will collaborate with HCC to provide workforce development programs that meet local and regional needs.

The makerspace and educational center is expected to be located in the university's Julian Hall, in space that was previously used as a parking ramp and will be repurposed. The incubator will be located in the Trail East building on Normal's Uptown Circle, with construction on that facility slated to begin in early 2020.

Hub contact: Craig McLauchlan