Lyle Jepson – (802) 770-7061
For immediate release: Sept. 22, 2016
REDC kickstarts Greater Rutland Makerspace with $50,000 grant
RUTLAND – Rutland County is about to make a new makerspace!
The Rutland Economic Development Corp. board has approved a broad plan to support the launch of a nonprofit makerspace for the Rutland region, including $50,000 of startup capital provided by a special job creation fund donated to REDC by Green Mountain Power.
The Greater Rutland Makerspace will be housed in a business incubator owned by REDC on Quality Lane, with GMP providing a generous donation of used office furniture, and REDC providing rent-free space and utilities. The $50,000 grant will come from a REDC fund created by GMP to support job creation and economic development.
“This plan is the result of years of contemplation and months of hard work by a dedicated core group of local makers, people who build and create things, solve problems, and look to build their businesses over time,” REDC Executive Director Lyle Jepson said. “We expect the Greater Rutland Makerspace will help innovative individuals to create new businesses, students to learn, and small businesses to grow into larger spaces of their own. It’s all about education and economic development.”
A makerspace is a place where people can share resources and information, tools and expertise as they produce products, ideas or inventions. It is a collaborative space that provides shared resources that few if any of its members could afford on their own. The Greater Rutland Makerspace, which is being created by a committee of local leaders with REDC’s support, is expected to include woodworking and metalworking tools, a laser cutter and eventually a high-tech 3-D printer.
Makerspace organizers worked with REDC’s Entrepreneurship Committee to prepare a business plan in support of their request for space and funding.
“We are really impressed by the vision and professionalism of this group,” committee chair John Casella II said. “They came to us with this idea just a few months ago, and it has grown into a smart, thorough plan to create a new resource for the Rutland region. They’ve done their homework. This grant from REDC is just the beginning of their success.”
“This has been a dream for years,” said Peter Gile, a lead organizer, who with his father owns Two Bad Cats, a local company that builds specialty farm tools, boot warmers and display racks. “We’re always tinkering and sharing ideas, and we look forward to having a space where we can do a lot more of that with a lot more people.”
“For many makers who are just starting out, the idea of renting space, copiers, equipment and everything else that goes into a business is just out of reach,” said committee member Dan Roswell. “This makes it possible for people to get a start, learn from a lot of others, and build their sales and income without the risk of a big financial investment up front.”
Jepson said makerspace organizers and volunteers would outfit the space, set up equipment and prepare to market the space to potential makers in the coming weeks. The committee has already had contact with about 100 people who have voiced interest in the project.
“This is the kind of grassroots economic development that is changing the greater-Rutland area,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello. “Just like Project VISION, the Solar Capital effort, and the revitalization of downtown Rutland, the key to success is collaboration. In a community of this size, it’s a key ingredient in virtually every success that is achieved.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the Greater Rutland Makerspace can visit www.rutlandmakers.org.