Rock It! Lab blasts off at ribbon cutting
On Thursday, July 22, 2021, onlookers cheered as Benito Lubazibwa, Director of ABE (Advancing Black Entrepreneurship) cut the ribbon held by CALS Executive Director Nate Coulter, Mayor Frank Scott Jr., and Andre Webster. Guests were invited to tour the Cox Building, previously housing the bookstore, as the new home of the Rock It! Lab – a partnership between CALS (Central Arkansas Library System) and ABE. The goal of the Rock It! Lab is to help under-resourced entrepreneurs become business owners by providing access to resources and mentorship.
The Rock It! Lab has three distinct areas: on the first floor, guests walk into the River Shop where entrepreneurs who have finished products can sell their wares. Current vendors range from packaged foods to stationery and clothing. The second floor is the Village Coworking Space where entrepreneurs can conduct meetings or use it as a general office space. Downstairs in the basement – is the 501 Makers Makerspace which offers creative entrepreneurs access to workspace. Here there are easels for artists, a screen printing machine plus sewing machines.
During the ribbon-cutting event, guests were invited to enjoy refreshments provided by businesses that have worked with Lubazibwa and ABE. There were plates of BBQ, mini cheesecakes, kettle corn, coffee and other drinks available. People were invited to purchase items from the vendors in the River Shop as well. In the 501 Makers Makerspace, artists worked on their projects and guests were invited to paint on a large canvas that one Rock It! Lab artist will later turn into a commemorative piece.
Read more about the event here, including an interview with the Arkansas Times featuring Benito and Leah Patterson, Rock It! lab Coordinator, as well as this feature from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Or watch a segment on Fox 16 here and on THV 11 here. Find out more about the Rock It! Lab here, where you can follow the latest events, sign up to be a mentor within the program, or get a consultation to see if your business has the potential to be successful.
Benito Lubazibwa cuts the ribbon before inviting everyone inside.