I wasn’t expecting to evoke the California Gold Rush when writing my blog about Scottsdale Leadership’s Economic Development Day.
After all, economic development is the process of building strong, adaptive economies not searching for gold. In fact, Danielle Casey, Economic Development Director for the City of Scottsdale, defines it as, “the process of creating wealth through the mobilization of human, financial, capital, physical and natural resources to generate marketable goods and services.”
Class 28 was exposed to many economic concepts that day – from an economic update to economic trends shaping our community; all things you would expect during a crash course on Economic Development. But I was surprised when Casey had a spot in her presentation for Carol Damaso, Scottsdale’s Public Library Director, to talk about the Eureka Loft.
The Eureka Loft, located at the Civic Center Library, is a co-working space. It’s part of a new initiative between the Scottsdale Public Library and ASU Venture Catalyst, the startup unit of Arizona State University. This joint effort is designed to help entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses.
(Full disclosure: the Eureka Loft is actually named after the famous “Eureka” moment of Greek astronomer, inventor, mathematician and physicist Archimedes. It has nothing to do with finding gold. But hey, I understand the concept of panning for gold much more than I do Archimedes’ principle.)
The Eureka Loft combines elements of collaboration spaces with expert library fact-finding services and ASU startup resources all in one place. On top of that, they can get advice and access to some pracademic classes both online and in the library. (Pracademic is the mixture of academic and practitioner.)
Michael Beck, Class 28 classmate and Adult Services Coordinator at Scottsdale Public Library, runs the Eureka Loft program and says its benefits are numerous.
“Anybody can come into the library and get free one-on-one assistance with mentorship, access to library databases, business databases, mentorship with ASU and business community leaders”, said Beck. “They can also receive help with their filings for limited liability corporations.”
Members of the Scottsdale library staff have become champions of the program. Each library champion has gone through ASU’s Rapid Startup School which is an introduction to entrepreneurship.
The long term goal of Eureka Loft is to support Scottsdale’s entrepreneurs, inventors, small businesses and the like that need help to advance their ideas. The collaboration spaces allow these people to gather to connect, network and share ideas. They are free and open to the public during normal library hours.
Here’s what I like best about the Eureka Loft… economic vitality shouldn’t just be on the backs of Scottsdale’s high powered movers and shakers. Thanks to the Eureka Loft, we can all take part.