Technical workshop showcases new Shoemaker Innovation Center

Shoemaker Innovation Center

The Shoemaker Innovation Center at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering’s new Luddy Hall is open for business.

The Shoemaker Innovation Center hosted its first event Jan. 19, the inaugural Shoemaker Technical Skills Development Workshop that saw “The Shoebox” packed with students from multiple schools around campus. The workshop welcomed Christian McKay, the director of SICE Makerspaces, to introduce the resources that are available for student innovators and entrepreneurs.

“From the very beginning, when we talked about the Shoemaker Innovation Center, we talked about getting students building and bringing things to fruition by creating,” said Travis Brown, assistant dean for innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization at SICE. “Hosting Christian was a logical jumping off point to showcase our resources to people across campus. It’s one avenue that enables the innovators and entrepreneurs on campus to see SICE as a true partner.”

The 3,500-square-foot Shoebox features four offices dedicated to student entrepreneurship, a shared conference room, and a student incubator that can serve as a meeting place for students to develop ideas. The Shoemaker Innovation Center also has a calendar of speakers and workshops to support innovators.

“I think it’s really awesome that we have a chance to learn what SICE has to offer and to learn from different faculty,” said Grace Liu, a sophomore majoring in marketing and business analytics at the Kelley School of Business. “It’s great to have so many resources, and it inspires me to try to find different ways to be involved in here.

Tyler Citrin, a senior in computer science and another Shoemaker Scholar, was also excited to see the Shoebox host its first event and believes the workshop will spark more activity in entrepreneurship.

“Students develop ideas, and sometimes the only thing stopping them is that they can’t find the resources,” Citrin said. “Having a center like this is really going to help those students take advantage of the resources and come together and find other students they otherwise might not have been able to find.”

That opportunity for students with different perspectives to find one another will help drive the success of the Shoemaker Innovation Center.

“What I really hope to see happen is that we see the distinction between the innovators and the entrepreneurs here,” Brown said. “There are a lack of resources for student entrepreneurs on campus when it comes to just getting a primer on the basic technical skills they need to get their idea launched and get their business far enough along to solicit real market feedback. What better place to do that than an innovation center at the technical school on campus?

“Part of my vision is that students developing a product for the Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge will be working next to a business student working on a business idea. Those groups can find one another, and can connect over building a business around the innovator’s idea.”

For more information about programs at the Shoemaker Innovation Center, visit its website.

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