The non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers recognized the Northeast Tennessee operation in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Public-Private Partnerships, and Partnerships with Educational Institutions. Innovation Village, which is adjacent to Kingsport’s Academic Village, is designed to strategically position Kingsport as the advanced manufacturing innovation hub of Central Appalachia, an entrepreneurial sandbox for creators and inventors, and a community center for training a digital workforce.
Located in the heart of downtown Kingsport, Innovation Village grew out of a vision in 2017. By the next year, the Inventor Center, the first phase of Innovation Village, opened with a $540,000 grant from the city to create the region’s premier makerspace and prototyping center. Phase two was the announcement last November of the Center for Digital Innovation, a 9,000 square foot digital media center in partnership with Create Appalachia, the region’s leading organization promoting the traditional and digital artists of Appalachia. This partnership includes a $430,000 contribution to the center by Create Appalachia as part of an Appalachian Regional Commission grant received to expand access and opportunity to the arts for entrepreneurs and creators of central Appalachia.
Innovation Village is supported through funding, staffing and other resources by an array of partners, including: City of Kingsport, East Tennessee State University Research Corporation, Northeast State Community College, Create Appalachia, Model City Makerspace, FoundersForge, Kingsport Academic Village and Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Sync Space Entrepreneur Center.