The newly opened innovation center at the State College of Florida will do more than help entrepreneurs and businesspeople, according to Kim Richmond, the program’s director.

“We want to be the center of the ecosystem,” she said. “What we see are the opportunities — we see them in our community, in our students, and this building. Our services are the perfect intersection for that; we’re the catalyst for that.”

The $4.4 million innovation center, dubbed 26 West Center in homage to SCF’s Bradenton address, opened Wednesday. The 40,000-square-foot space spans two floors and was largely funded by a $3.6 million grant from the state’s Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.

The center is intended for students, current and aspiring entrepreneurs alike in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. It has seven broad services available, which include:

  • Business growth lab and incubator
  • Student incubator
  • Entrepreneurship academy, taught by current entrepreneurs. Classes are a pathway to SCF’s associate degree in the business department. 
  • Personal branding lab, which will launch in the spring
  • Digital collective, which allows students to create content such as newsletters and social media ads for businesses and nonprofits 
  • SCF coding academy 
  • Creative studio, which boasts a video production space over 2,000 square feet