University of Phoenix and Iron Yard Ventures collaboration provides local resource to educate, incubate and accelerate business ideas
PHOENIX, May 31, 2016 — University of Phoenix is opening a first-of-its kind innovation center in Las Vegas. The RedFlint™ Innovation Experience Center will provide visitors with an experiential, hands-on learning environment to help them innovate in their companies and in their own careers. The center will provide individuals, startups and established businesses, access to the latest technology and business ideas to help them perform at a high caliber today, and learn how to be nimble and relevant for tomorrow. The University is collaborating with Iron Yard Ventures to provide startup businesses access to a premier business accelerator through RedFlint.
RedFlint is expected to open in September 2016. The open-concept center will be located in the Bank of America Plaza building in downtown Las Vegas. RedFlint will be open to the public with a specific focus on the Las Vegas business, education and government communities.
“Las Vegas is a growing technology and innovation hub, and we are so pleased to welcome University of Phoenix downtown where everything is happening,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “Downtown is the nerve center for an explosion of ideas and conversation, and the momentum continues to build with exciting new projects like the RedFlint Innovation Experience Center.”
RedFlint addresses, among others, the common issues of stagnation inside established businesses; limited resources for entrepreneurs and startup ventures; and individuals who feel behind on the technology curve. The dynamic collaboration between University of Phoenix’s College of Information Systems & Technology and School of Business, along with Iron Yard Ventures, positions RedFlint to ignite change within many industries. Iron Yard Ventures has spurred investment in 59 startups in the last four years and those companies have gone on to create hundreds of jobs and raise more than $70 million in follow-on funding.
“Rapid technology advancements have led to a new kind of ‘skills gap,'” said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean of the College of Information Systems & Technology at University of Phoenix. “Professionals who are otherwise fully-qualified within their fields find themselves falling behind due to a lack of technical savvy or drive to innovate within their organizations. Those starting businesses often have strong industry knowledge, but struggle to stay current on new technology and don’t necessarily know how to leverage it to connect more effectively with customers. RedFlint can help bridge these gaps.”
University of Phoenix explored a number of possible locations for RedFlint, and the climate of innovation and the opportunity to make a difference in Las Vegas were determining factors. Both the hospitality and gaming industries are poised for change, spurred by new technologies and services. Also, as a home to many tech companies, an exploding IT workforce and host to the world’s largest technology and electronics trade show, Las Vegas is establishing itself as a well-respected and sought-after hub for tech and innovation.
“Having this innovation center in our urban core is not only going to benefit downtown, but our community as a whole,” said Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin. “Adding resources to the community leads to innovation and keeps our city on the cutting-edge.”
RedFlint will be continuously evolving to adopt new technologies and advance new ideas, but is underpinned with three main components: educate, incubate and accelerate. There will also be implications for innovation in higher education. RedFlint will be a place where the University studies innovation, identifies education gaps and tests and incubates ideas that can ultimately innovate curriculum.
“Imagine the power of starting a business surrounded by the latest technologies, data analytics and digital marketing tools, and having advisors from successful companies who can help you avoid traditional early business mistakes,” said Ruth Veloria, executive dean of University of Phoenix School of Business. “University of Phoenix has always been on the cutting edge of how adults learn, and this new ecosystem has the potential to help innovate education.”
The RedFlint Innovation Center will:
- Educate: Experiential learning and ideas will come to life in a technically advanced, yet approachable laboratory. The center will offer no cost workshops and professional development opportunities that can be adapted as technologies and industries evolve, as well as technology that anyone can test.
- Incubate: Established or startup companies can build their business plans surrounded by the technology and resources needed to get them off the ground. Companies can incubate new products, revenue streams or processes.
- Accelerate: By providing access through RedFlint to Iron Yard Ventures, entrepreneurs gain a way to take business to the next level with one of the premier accelerators at their side.
Analytics leader SAS is also interested in participating in the project.
“The RedFlint Innovation Experience Center can provide more opportunities for people to learn SAS skills that are highly sought after by employers in every industry,” said Emily Baranello, vice president, SAS Education Practice. “It will also give entrepreneurs experience with a variety of technologies, including data visualization and data management, so they can learn how analytics can support their innovative work.”
“RedFlint Innovation Experience Center, paired with Iron Yard Ventures Accelerator, will be the catalyst Las Vegas needs,” said Ryan J. Negri, managing director of Iron Yard Ventures Accelerator. “We’ll be solving real world problems, with applicable, technological solutions for the community and our corporate sponsors. The support from local corporations, small business, and the general population has been extraordinary thus far.”
For more information about the RedFlint Innovation Experience Center, visit: www.redflintvegas.com.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.
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