Microsoft is opening an 'innovation center' in the old Dept. of Making + Doing - Technical.ly Philly

Business

Apr. 6, 2016 7:40 am

Microsoft is opening an ‘innovation center’ in the old Dept. of Making + Doing

The space primarily appears to be a marketing spot for Microsoft, where people can learn to use Microsoft tools, but could it also bring “underrepresented groups” into the tech scene?

The University City Science Center's 3711 Market Street building.

(Photo courtesy of University City Science Center)

What was once a makerspace will turn into a “Microsoft Innovation Center,” an events and training space that also acts as a marketing arm for the Seattle-area tech giant.

In July, Microsoft will launch its third U.S. Innovation Center, following those in the fellow fledgling tech hubs of Atlanta and Miami, on the ground floor of the University City Science Center’s 3711 Market Street location, owned by Wexford Science + Technology.

Previously, the space housed the Dept. of Making + Doing, a youth-focused makerspace that closed last fall due to factors like rising rents and the lack of a longterm plan. Before that, it was the first location of makerspace NextFab, which opened a larger space in Washington Avenue in 2013.

It’s Microsoft’s first official presence in Philadelphia, though the company has a store in King of Prussia and an office in Malvern. There are more than 350 Microsoft employees in the area, according to the release.

Microsoft will not sell any products at the Innovation Center, said Science Center spokeswoman Kristen Fitch, though people will be able to sign up for free BizSpark and DreamSpark software at the center.

SeventySix Capital’s Wayne Kimmel spearheaded the effort to get Microsoft to open the center, after hearing from Microsoft’s Jeff Friedman (formerly of the city’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics) that the company was looking to open another one.

Microsoft, which is leasing the space from Wexford Science + Technology, plans to launch the space in time for the Democratic National Convention, during which the company will offer events focused on politics and civic engagement. (Maybe civic hacking crew Code for Philly will make an appearance?)

After that, Kimmel will work with Microsoft and the Science Center to develop programming.

The tech scene often talks of attracting giants like Microsoft, Google or Amazon to the area, so this is a start. But it’s not tech jobs. (The Science Center will hire someone to run the center.) At first glance, it sounds a bit to us like a glorified store (the Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano called it “an urban marketing presence”), though we do see the potential: according to the release, the center plans to offer programming that will bring “underrepresented groups” into the tech scene fold.

Advertisement

“It has been my personal goal for years to open an innovation center in Philadelphia that is open and accessible to everyone to inspire people to be entrepreneurial and create amazing companies to change the world,” Kimmel wrote in an email.

It’s not yet clear how the innovation center will do this, but we hope it does.

You must appreciate accurate, relevant and productive community journalism.  Support this sort of work from professional reporters with seasoned editors.  Become a Technical.ly member for $12 per month -30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here

Advertisement

The first part of UCity’s $3.5B Schuylkill Yards project is a public park focused on inclusion

Video games are coming to the Cira Centre — this time, designed by teens

When the long road leads to the dream job

SPONSORED

Philly

This apprenticeship program is opening the door for candidates with nontraditional backgrounds

Philadelphia, PA

Linode

Product Marketing Manager

Apply Now
Blue Bell, PA

Pinnacle 21

Senior Software Engineers

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

PromptWorks

Senior UX Designer

Apply Now

Why working with the University City Science Center was a game changer for 4 Philly startups

Take a peek at the opportunities popping up at PromptWorks

How a 70-year-old family business used Salesforce to step into the future

SPONSORED

Philly

How AI can help humans, not replace them

Philadelphia, PA

Linode

Software Development Engineer in Test

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Linode

Senior Software Engineer – Kubernetes

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!