If the unique spelling of theClubhou.se doesn’t give you a clue that this organization is on the cutting edge, a look at the sleek, modern offices of the non-profit located in the Georgia Cyber Center certainly hints that those at work here are fully engaged in the technology of modern-day business. In this case, the perception is the reality, and that’s just fine with Eric Parker, Co-founder and Innovation Architect of the non-profit technology and start-up hub, and Innovative Architect/Owner of a design firm specializing in designing a physical identity for businesses and organizations.
Grace Belangia, co-founder and Executive Director of the 7,000 sq. ft. business innovation center, offers a primer of keywords to help describe the creative technology culture for those new to the genre. “Those interested in programming, web development, or cyber ops, are the ‘hackers,” she explains. “Then there are ‘makers,’ who create, tinker with old technology, and invent new things.”
Even before an ancient, creative mind invented the wheel, human beings sought ways to change the world around them. Though hacking and making may seem confusing concepts to those new to the culture, in essence, both are technology-based extensions of the irrepressible creativity of mankind. With technology and business design ideas reinventing the wheel each and every day, these creative hackers and makers will no doubt change our world just as significantly.
The movers and shakers—the mentors and entrepreneurs who recognize the merits of putting those minds together to build a collaborative network of shared knowledge and expertise—are ready to help them reach the next level. When movers and shakers, hackers and makers join together to teach, support, and encourage each other, the ecosystem they form attracts new talent, new wealth, and new partnerships encouraging expansion and opportunity throughout the creative community.
Such is the collaborative spirit that Parker and Belangia advance through theClubhou.se; providing everything from a simple space to write or work, access to a computer lab and hands-on, project-based training on 3D printers in a prototyping lab, mail service and a business street address, and 24-hour secure office and conference room access. Based on a membership model that ranges from a $10 per day drop-in rate to a $600 per month private office, the organization is accessible to every level of creative talent, and the words written on the door are a good indication of the philosophy inside:
“Don’t step through these doors to be average—be amazing.”
Six years later, after outgrowing the old Richmond Academy and expanding to this site, theClubhou.se has 150 members, with 45 businesses working from theClubhou.se locations, proving that the world is a better place when the community supports its creative class of hackers, artists, and makers who are the entrepreneurs that make cities worth living in.
With events and programs as diverse as the audience, theClubhou.se not only supports young makers who will be Augusta’s technology and design future, it serves as an incubator for all levels of innovators. More than 90% of its offerings are available at no cost from Cyber Security Workshops to Sumo Robot League, NASA Space App Challenges to Beer and Bytes, TEDxAugusta to Drone Boot Camp and beyond.
Uniting learners and leaders and building a foundation of core values for those who will move Augusta forward, theClubhou.se has not only helped over 2,000 people learn new skills in technology, business, and design, it has already helped grow 50 businesses, and create 100 jobs, providing a $7 million economic impact. No matter what you want to call these movers and shakers and hackers and makers, the dreams they have dreamed are making a difference that will shape the future for a new Augusta.