Through a joint venture with the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, Williamson Inc. is slated this summer to open the new Center for Innovation at the Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens campus and is now accepting applications for short-term, dedicated office space for entrepreneurial businesses.
The Center is located in the historic Haynes-Berry House, now renamed the LeHew Mansion. The 4,100-square-foot 1889 mansion (former O’More School of Design’s Fleming-Farrah Mansion and historic Haynes-Berry House) has been newly renovated by the Heritage Foundation to create the first innovation and entrepreneurial center in Williamson County housed in a historic property.
The Center for Innovation will be operated by Williamson Inc. and can accommodate up to six start-up companies in dedicated office spaces which vary in size and will lease for one-year terms renewable up to two additional years.
“I am thrilled to partner with our friends at the Heritage Foundation to create a front door for entrepreneurs in Williamson County,” Matt Largen, president and CEO of Williamson Inc., said. “There is a strong desire for entrepreneurs to have their own space for a limited amount of time to grow and scale their companies. Downtown Franklin and the Franklin Grove campus provide the perfect environment for the new Center for Innovation.”
Heritage Foundation President and CEO Bari Beasley said the Center is an ideal blend as a place providing support for today’s entrepreneurs while holding on to its historic significance.
“We believe that the new Center for Innovation and our partnership with Williamson Inc. not only helps support our goal of economic vitality for Williamson County, but also our core mission to continue the rich legacy of education and culture of the five-acre Franklin Grove campus,” Beasley said. “We have invested in renovations to this beautiful historic property with an innovative buildout that will support an entrepreneur center, but also maintain the historical integrity of this beautiful property.”
The goal of the Center is to help small companies achieve greater scale and eventually create jobs and occupy commercial office space in Williamson County through fostering collaboration, community inclusion and resource-sharing. The Center for Innovation is a launching pad for expansion-minded startups who want to grow their business, hire employees, and make Williamson County their long-term home.
The Center will provide a referral network of services to support entrepreneurs with access to mentors and will eventually provide programming and other resources to support their businesses.
The Center will not specialize in a specific industry or business sector but will be focused on recruiting businesses who have a desire to collaborate and create a community of participants who are helpful to each other. Participants will have access to office spaces outfitted with furniture, doors with electronic locks, robust technology infrastructure, outdoor seating with WiFi access, along with a shared conference room and kitchen, all the while reflective of Franklin history and character.
The Center for Innovation will open in June with office space available beginning in July. For more information and instructions on how to apply for one of the dedicated office spaces, visit FranklinInnovates.com.