In Oct. the City Council, acting as the Economic Development authority, authorized a request for proposal for a feasibility study regarding an innovation center that may be anchored by a university. Innovation centers are buildings owned or rented in conjunction with a college campus. These centers are not only used for classes, but they can also be an incubation hub for small businesses, or a shared office space for start-ups.
It’s a model that works in other communities. Universities aren’t just catering to traditional students anymore and these sites provide non-traditional students options to learn amongst their peers.
The city and Scott County have been in discussion with Minnesota State University – Mankato about the possibility of offering classes in the area for high school seniors, those seeking to complete their college degree, graduate program or those enrolled in employer supported training. The center is expected to attract students not only from Shakopee, but also Chanhassen, Chaska and portions of Scott County.
There are already a large number of students in the region enrolled at the university that make the trip to Mankato daily, and this center would allow them to take classes without having to travel over 100 miles round trip.
Creating an innovation center was an idea championed, in part, by the Envision Shakopee comprehensive plan process. Residents and employers have said there is a need for an additional training options in Scott County and that includes post-secondary options.
Beyond college courses, the site could be used for specialized staff trainings. The university could offer lecture series, leadership courses or other short-term courses in the space.
But the purpose of the innovation center is two-fold. Centers like the one proposed in Shakopee would allow for co-working space for small businesses in the area and shared offices for start-up businesses. The space could be used by new entrepreneurs to not only have a physical location for meetings, but for them to get their start, stay and invest in Scott County.
The feasibility study will examine many factors including market demands, cost and necessary enrollment size. For now, the council and city staff are focused on building in the downtown area of Shakopee.
In Nov., the City accepted a $30,000 grant from the Scott County CDA to help fund the feasibility study. The study is expected to be completed in Feb. of 2019 at which point the City Council, in cooperation with Scott County, will explore funding options.
- Updated: 12/04/2018
- Updated: 12/03/2018