Fla.’s Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) board of directors approved a five-year contract with JAXUSA Partnership to develop an Open Innovation Center inside the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) at LaVilla.
The 3,900-square-foot Open Innovation Center at JRTC will be located on the second level of the multimodal hub and feature innovation and technology training for entrepreneurs and employees.
The JRTC at LaVilla opened to the public in May, serving as the JTA’s main bus transfer facility, administrative headquarters, and regional mobility hub — unifying traditional and bus rapid transit routes, the Skyway, shared mobility services, paratransit services, and intercity services.
“The Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla serves as a space for innovation, enhanced mobility, and as a catalyst for economic vitality in this historic neighborhood,” said JTA Chief Administrative Officer Cleveland Ferguson III. “This initiative with JAXUSA Partnership and the JAX Chamber will create opportunities for creativity and shepherd the next generation of local entrepreneurs as they pursue their dreams.”
JAX Chamber’s venture services division will be based inside the JRTC. Through its JAX Bridges program for entrepreneurs, the Chamber has completed pilots on open innovation and entrepreneurial acceleration that will be offered to innovators and corporate partners in the new center.
“This partnership with JTA is an incredible opportunity for our region to build its innovation ecosystem and continue the great work underway with Smart Regions and the transportation space,” JAX Chamber Chief Innovation Officer Carlton Robinson said. “Through our experience working with entrepreneurs, we saw a need to be able to move quickly and, for example, offer opportunities for companies to send employees to get tech training that will build a pipeline of skilled talent in our region.”