"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.