New innovation hub opens its doors in Grand Rapids

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 5:38 PM CDT
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GRAND RAPIDS, MN. (Northern News Now) - The Forge is a space that encourages the innovation and collaboration of new ideas.

The space held its grand opening celebration Tuesday.

Located on 1201 SE 7th Avenue, the Forge welcomes all ideas but focuses heavily on the trades, like welding and woodwork.

President of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation Tamara Lowney helped develop the Forge.

Lowney said Northlanders no longer have to leave the area for the education and training they may need.

“We want to have opportunities in our community to stay in our community to learn and grow and thrive right here. If they have to leave, that’s okay. We want to give them an opportunity to come back,” said Lowney.

The Forge prides itself on providing everyone with resources for innovation, whether that is by learning a new skill or meeting with consultants to help invest in their ideas.

“So let’s say your idea is to build something with wood and you need advice, well, we’ll help you find a path forward to make that plan, but, remember, at the end of the day, it’s your plan that you have to be the driver that makes that plan come to life,” said Lowney.

Along with some local funding, the $2.3 million project received federal and state grants.

Congressman Pete Stauber believes this funding will continue to benefit all industries.

“It helps with workforce development in all areas and all sectors of our economy. So looking for workers, this is an opportunity to help build those skills, and get those young workers into the community or those midlife who want to change careers,” said Stauber.

Minnesota State Representative Spencer Igo encourages everyone to see what the 17,000-square-foot space has to offer.

“You think back to all the people across history that came up with that great idea,” said Igo. “Thomas Edison and the light bulb, right? He sat in a workshop just like this and met with people and tried 10,000 things until they got it right. The Forge is the place to do that and it’s right here in Itasca County.”

Igo adds the real excitement is not at the grand opening but in a year from now when projects are forged.

Click here to explore all the Forge has to offer.

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