Giving start-ups a good start

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Austin Community College’s newest incubator will help new businesses grow and give students new learning opportunities.

Austin Community College (ACC) is developing its third incubator at the Highland Campus to nurture businesses and grow a talent pipeline in Austin’s $12.3 billion manufacturing industry. A third of major employers in Central Texas are manufacturers, meaning there’s a need for facilities that would allow companies to grow and students to gain hands-on learning experience.

The new IMPACT Lab will provide these specialized facilities for manufacturing start-up companies to develop prototypes and products.

“This is the type of collaboration that generates growth for both our business community and our students. When business and education come together we build connections that make college affordable for everyone,” ACC President/CEO Richard Rhodes said. “The incubator model allows ACC to provide both the resources emerging manufacturing companies need to grow and the opportunities students need to get hands-on experience working side-by-side with industry. It’s exciting to see these missions come together under one roof.”

Mitch Jacobson, executive director of the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI),  said the lab “ensures that the region’s manufacturing industry continues to grow, lead, and reduce the cost and barriers to entry for physical product innovation. For ATI, having access to this new facility will help our startup companies escalate production and distribution of their breakthrough scientific discoveries.”

The new lab also will support ACC’s growing manufacturing academic programs and provide students with valuable paid internships in key areas including engineering technology, architectural and engineering computer-aided design, logistics and global supply chain management, and more. In the future, the lab will house an ACC Manufacturing Academy.

“ACC is yet again at the forefront of innovation in education and workforce development,” said City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “This new manufacturing academy and incubator fill a significant community need and are exciting tools to help Austin open real opportunities for people who live here. ACC and its partners are helping to preserve Austin’s spirit and soul by investing in our people.”

IMPACT lab is funded in part by a grant from the National Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program, and is supported by local matching dollars from ATI, Autodesk, City of Austin and Amazon Web Services.

The new facilities are expected to open in 2020.

The college has developed other incubators to meet the needs of the community in Austin. The ACC Fashion Incubator provides a state-of-the-art production space for start-up designers, while the ACC Bioscience Incubator offers lab space for companies, and internships and educational programs for students.

Read more about the IMPACT Lab here.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.