The City of Hammond's HUB of Innovation opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, January 16, in a formerly vacant building located at 5233 Hohman Avenue in the heart of its downtown.
The "HUB", which stands for Hammond Understands Business, was designed with the idea of connecting the community and youth of Hammond with small, local businesses and startups in an effort to create an incubator of new ideas and fresh entrepreneurs.
"What we want to do here is give new businesses the opportunity to get through their first years without making too many mistakes," Kevin Culver, an intern at the HUB said. "We want to incubate everything in one little space and let people bounce ideas off one another, but give you enough room to mingle and have your own ideas."
The two-story building offers plenty of open space for entrepreneurs to brainstorm including a workout facility, 3-D printers, and everything a burgeoning business would need to get on their feet. But most importantly, the HUB offers tenants the chance to work and interact with likeminded and creative people and share input on new ideas and technologies.
But it's not just new technologies that the HUB plans to bring in, their principal philosophy is the connections the town and its business owners can build by bringing in businesses from all areas of life that have the same thing in common: an entrepreneurial spirit and drive.
"In the end, we want [the HUB] to diversify the type of companies in Hammond," Culver added.
In addition to providing a grassroots incubator for the small businesses in Hammond, the city's mayor, Thomas McDermott Jr., believes the HUB can also help the downtown area thrive by bringing more businesses and foot traffic to Hammond.
"This is a great project," McDermott said at the ceremony. "We've brought six new businesses to the downtown area already. Thank you for believing in Hammond."
The six new businesses McDermott is referring to are the six new residents of the HUB who have already moved in before the HUB even opened.
"And we haven't really advertised it yet," HUB Director Sue Anderson said.
In total, the HUB has vacancies for 20 businesses and judging by the way the town and its entrepreneurs have taken to this opportunity to build Hammond together in the same building, the HUB's idea seems to be growing just as fast the startups it harbors.