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Innovating Continuously at Spelman College

In 2022, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation provided a $10 million grant to Spelman College to support an on-campus creative hub for young entrepreneurs and innovators. The funding established the Arthur M. Blank Innovation Lab, a campus-wide resource for entrepreneurial ideation and unconventional research. The current Innovation Lab is located in Spelman’s Science Center until the construction of the new Center for Innovation and the Arts is completed in 2024.

The Innovation Lab offers a wide range of projects and programming, covering areas such as game development, technology development, interactive art, future fashion, biotech and bio-design, animation, writing and entrepreneurship.

The new space for the Innovation Lab will be centrally located on campus to represent Spelman as a front door to the Westside community. The center is designed with an interdisciplinary approach in mind, following the STEAM model (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) to provide a dynamic, state-of-the-art learning environment that encourages innovation, risk-taking, invention and collaborative interdisciplinary work.

The new facility will challenge Spelman students to use technology-inspired solutions for societal problems, create an entrepreneurship incubator for high-performing students and establish high-level partnerships with innovation partners in academia and industry. Some of Spelman’s most popular programs will live in the new Innovation Lab where promising young entrepreneurs and innovators across multiple disciplines will work together to create new solutions to old challenges.

“Today’s young entrepreneurs will play an important role in solving many of our society’s most critical issues, and we’re pleased to support Spelman in creating a place where students can come together to share and test ideas that will also create more opportunities for positive engagement and growth with the local Westside community,” said Arthur M. Blank, chairman, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

One of the most unique features of the Innovation Lab is its strong sense of community and inclusivity. The lab is accessible to students who may not consider themselves makers or creatives, and students are encouraged to participate in conversations and programming as equals.

In addition, by investing in unconventional STEAM courses, students are provided with a wide range of tools and knowledge they need to be flexible and succeed in an ever-changing world. This approach ensures that students are well-rounded and equipped to tackle the complex problems of the future.

“Our lab is open to the entire campus, welcoming a diverse range of participants from every major and personality type. Our culture of acceptance, the range of programming we cover, and the casual, safe space environment make the Spelman Innovation Lab a place students want to be, not just a place they have to be,” said Eric Thompson, asst. director, Spelman Innovation Lab. “By providing our students with the tools, knowledge and community they need to succeed, we’re confident that they’ll be able to propel themselves into a bright and successful future.”

The Innovation Lab at Spelman College is not just a space for learning new skills, it’s also a community of thinkers and problem solvers who are passionate about making a difference in the world.

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