VA Center for Innovation partners with TechShop to cultivate creativity and entrepreneurship among Veterans
Makerspaces, also called hackerspaces or fablabs are do-it-yourself spaces where people can create, invent, and learn in a social environment with the proper equipment. While longtime hubs for the hobbyist, or inventor, these spaces have also become the birthplace of a variety of socially-good businesses and endeavors.
TechShop, the first, largest, and most popular makerspace with locations nationwide, collaborated with VA’s Center for Innovation (VACI) to provide 2,000 one-year memberships at its locations across the country. The spaces afford Veterans an opportunity explore their ideas and make their dreams become reality by providing instruction as well as a wide array of equipment, such as milling, forming, cutting, welding, woodworking, electronics, and much more.
Some TechShop members have created new products and businesses. Some members join specifically to turn their concepts into reality. Other members start without a specific concept in mind, but found direction and opportunity while working with the tools, learning new skills and interacting with other members.
Compass Coffee and its Veteran owners, Michael Haft and Anthony Saurez, took advantage of this partnership. The two Marine Veterans used TechShop’s cutting-edge equipment and training to become more competitive in the job market or pursue entrepreneurial goals. Watch their story below.
The video in this article was produced by VA’s Employee Education System video team of Jonathan Badrian, George Dwyer and Estel Dillon.