North Little Rock STEAM Initiative

Summary

A 100 year old warehouse sitting between Little Rock and North Little Rock has become something very new and exciting in the last three years. Warwick Sabin, creator and executive director of the Innovation Hub, has developed a space that is enriching the region with a new kind of economic development while also preparing a new generation of thinkers and doers. The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub was created to provide business owners and entrepreneurs a space to collaborate and develop their products. However that goal has expanded because the leadership of the Innovation Hub understands the importance of developing next generation talent that will remain and invest in Arkansas.

Currently the Innovation Hub provides field trips to their Maker's Studio for K-12 children from across the region. They provide an after-school space where local youth can create art that they market and sell. They have summer programing and coding boot camps for youth and young adults. Their partnership with youth servicing organizations such as Jr. Achievement, has expanded their ability to provide STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) to more young people. Their educational services reach right up to adulthood since they provide a multitude of adult classes on technology, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing. They have become a significant resource to local higher education institutions wanting to provide their students with hands-on, industry aligned tools and equipment. The focus on partnerships has been an essential component to the success of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

The strategy

City Role
The City of North Little Rock provides funding and leadership to the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. A North Little Rock Alderman sits on the Hub's board and serves as advocate for the mission of the Hub.

Partnerships
The Hub has many corporate partners and state-wide partners. They work collectively with their local school district, higher education institutions, chamber of commerce and city and county government. A full array of their partners is located on their website.

Outcomes

The maker's space recently partnered with the state run Arkansas Manufacturing Resource to provide entrepreneurs and established manufacturers a collaborative space where participants can get in touch with state resources and develop new ideas and products. Furthermore, leadership of the Innovation Hub was recently invited to a roundtable on maker's space at the White House. This growing recognition exemplifies the impactful results the Hub is showing. Their programming services hundreds of local and diverse students and adults yearly.

Contact Information
Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
sandler@nlc.org

Central Arkansas Innovation Hub
201 East Broadway 
North Little Rock, AR 72114 
501-907-6570

Last Modified: March 2016

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