Rowan commissioners give go-ahead to ‘Idea Center’ at West End Plaza

From WBTV Salisbury

By David Whisenant

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – On Monday night Rowan County commissioners approved a plan to create an “Idea Center” at the West End Plaza.

Commissioners approved $145,000 to go to e2 Advisors, a South Carolina based firm which made the presentation of the project at the meeting.

That money would be used for design, marketing, program development and project management. The total cost of the project is $3.9 million.

To be called The Rowan County Idea Center, the project will make use of 39,000 square feet of what used to be The Salisbury Mall.

The project would include a business incubator, a museum dedicated to entrepreneurship, a cafe, and a digital media lab.

“Small businesses have created over 65% of America’s new jobs since 1995. Retooling Rowan County’s economy cannot just be about attracting major employers. It has to include the fostering of a community mindset that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation,” Rowan County Commission Chairman Greg Edds said. “We believe that the IDEA Venture Lab, the Rowan Prototype Factory, and the IDEA Co-Working Center will do just that.”

According to the firm’s web site, e2 Advisors works for “entrepreneurial excellence on campus or in a community.”

What enables us to do this effectively is that we have the experience, first hand as both entrepreneurs and as educators, to see where we can add value, where we can help a program move from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow, whether it is from “non-existent” to “established” or from “good” to “excellent”.

This is facilitated by the range of services we offer:

Comprehensive analysis of the current situation and comparison to your competition so we can identify the areas of greatest opportunity.

A plan in whatever form required to secure administration, trustee, sponsor or community approval.

Entrepreneurship curriculum for a concentration, minor, major or degree.

On-campus or in-community programming such as workshops, events, speaker series, etc.

All the processes, forms and training to identify new ventures and lead them through the incubation and acceleration process.

Development of marketing materials such as web sites, apps, brochures, posters, etc. for the program.

A custom-developed tracking system to manage the ventures, mentors, funding and sponsors.

Advice on establishing a physical center for the program, including cost analysis, build out requirements, decor, etc.

The opening date for the Idea Center is projected to be August 2018.