Glendale library to open assistance center for innovators, entrepreneurs

Business innovators, entrepreneurs and job seekers will soon have a new place to connect, collaborate and find resources when the Glendale Innovation Development and Entrepreneurial Assistance (IDEA) Center officially opens early next spring.

The new IDEA Center, located within Glendale’s Main Library, 5959 W. Brown Ave., will provide a space where business people, entrepreneurs, innovators and networkers can come together to share ideas, form partnerships and learn more about starting and growing a business straight from seasoned mentors and savvy business professionals.

Free and open to the public during regular library hours, the IDEA Center will offer free classes, workshops and business enterprise resources aimed at helping job seekers, business and nonprofit entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace.

“Glendale IDEA Center is ideal for new startups as well as established businesses looking for a way to incubate and grow their ideas,” said Glendale’s Chief Librarian Michael Beck.

The new IDEA Center will fuel entrepreneurs with high-tech resources coupled with the physical amenities of a “brick and mortar” business innovation operation. The re-purposed library programming space will include computers, loaded with the latest in Microsoft Office Suite software and hard-wired for internet, available for conducting research and developing business presentations.

A 3D printer will be available for innovators in need of a product prototype to show to potential backers. Additional business services will include a fully-equipped media lab with cameras, green screen imaging, professional lighting, sound equipment and specialty programs for photo editing and video production.

The center will also host a business and career reference materials section and even an ideal place to conduct business meetings or presentations with access to a smart TV, whiteboard projection screens and Skype conferencing capabilities, all available at no cost to support the entrepreneur.

“The new center builds on an already successful relationship between Glendale Public Library, the city’s Economic Development Office, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and ASU’s Entrepreneurial Outreach Network,” said Beck. Combining the elements vital to kick-starting a new or expanding business venture, the center will offer free access to expert library fact-finding services, advice and guidance from city economic development professionals and the business start-up resources of Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Specially-trained Glendale Public Library staff will serve as resident consultants offering information resources to budding innovators. Classes and interactive workshops aimed at honing job search skills and helping startups and existing businesses succeed will be offered free of charge on an ongoing basis.

City economic development partners are also onboard to mentor and connect entrepreneurs to a larger business owner network and opportunities to access additional training and capital.

“This will ultimately spur economic development and create new products, businesses and jobs across the West Valley,” said Economic Development Director Brian Friedman. “Our office is excited to have another tool to help small business and entrepreneurs succeed. Business Assistance is one of our four pillars, and one more example of how Glendale is moving the needle forward.”

Funding for the new computers and the majority of specialized software and equipment soon to be available for public use in the Glendale Idea Center was made possible through a $15,000 grant of Barrel District improvement funds by Councilmember Bart Turner.

“I’m excited to be able to sponsor this new facility to help not only budding entrepreneurs and small startups, but also residents interested in founding nonprofit organizations aimed at addressing local needs,” Turner said.