Innovation Village coming to downtown Kingsport

KINGSPORT — Kingsport has found a new tenant for its old city hall — and in doing so plans to take entrepreneurship to the next level.

The tenant in question is Create Appalachia — a Johnson City-based organization that offers the community access to a state-of-the-art digital media center. Create Appalachia is similar to the Inventor Center, in that people become members of the organization and have access to specialized tools and equipment.

But instead of wood, plastic and metal-working tools, Create Appalachia offers its members access to a digital media center. In the center will be $430,000 worth of equipment, including photography and videography studios, large format printers, a large gallery, event space and a technology-enabled conference room. Technology-enabled co-working spaces and private offices are available for rent to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“The goal is to help people with computer systems and software that’s hard for an individual to afford,” said John Rose, economic development director for Kingsport. “The beauty of it is Create Appalachia helps with marketing from product design and allows a person to come in with an idea, help them design a product in a 3-D environment to see if it would truly work.”

This digital computer lab and training room are fully equipped and will be focused on skills that are sought by regional manufacturers and employers — and are aligned with the Kingsport City Schools system and higher education partners.

“When you think about designing a product or visualizing an idea, it starts with digital design.” said Cher Cornett, President of Create Appalachia and a professor at ETSU’s department of digital media, “At the Center for Digital Innovation, we are adding equipment, technology and training opportunities for the community to learn the new digital tools of manufacturing, creativity, and the arts.”

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