One of the Treasure Valley’s entrepreneurial resource hubs has reopened its doors in a new location, and now has more space for classes and meetings, and new tools for marketing and prototyping.
The Meridian Library District’s unBound branch is now open at 722 NE Second St. in downtown, a renovated 3,700-square-foot two-story building featuring:
- Several 3D printers and CNC machines for prototyping
- State-of-the-art poster printer and lamination machines
- A new podcast recording studio
And that’s just the technology.
unBound is also known for its community classes for entrepreneurs and startup leaders, often in partnership with other organizations in the ecosystem like the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, Trailhead and the Women’s Business Center.
“As businesses adapt to an economic landscape shaped by COVID, and as residents pursue passion projects with renewed interest, access to these tools and spaces will be more important than ever,” Meridian Library Director Gretchen Caserotti said during unBound’s ribbon cutting ceremony April 16.
“In addition to providing tools and software, unBound staff can help with everything from improving your business’s web presence to designing prototypes or generating an elevator pitch,” Caserotti said. “We will help you identify next steps to turn your idea into a product or business.”
To help lead these efforts in business development is the library’s new Business Library Liaison, Alex Johnatakis. As the state’s reopening phases progress and the vaccine continues to roll out, the plan is to resume these in-person community classes.
“For my role specifically, I can also help with market and historical research, or help people craft their pitch decks and get all of those numbers to support things,” Johnatakis said.
Entrepreneurs and startup creators will likely see Johnatakis out in the community at events like Boise Startup Week, or mentoring locations like Trailhead.
“Something that I really love about my job is we get to see all of these ideas coming in the door, because libraries are like … a natural starting point for people when they have ideas,” Johatakis said. “Everything in here is designed to help take them a little bit farther.”
Currently, classes like “Lunch and Learn: Starting A New Business” on May 5 are virtual. unBound is open to the public, which, as Caserotti has put it, extends beyond the Meridian community; community members don’t have to live in Meridian to utilize unBound’s space or services.
“I’m excited for the opportunity that we get to provide for the entrepreneur and startup business community — free space, reservable space, access to prototyping, access to people with knowledge — and helping connect people that have knowledge beyond our walls,” said Nick Grove, unBound’s manager. Grove now has the opportunity to develop and execute strategic thinking toward making changes to meet the startup and business community needs.
“That’s the thing about working with technology and with the business community, changes happen quickly, and we have to be able to pivot accordingly,” Grove said. “I love looking at those changes and seeing new opportunities.”
“I’m excited about the opportunities as we get post pandemic … going further into aspects from what we’ve done in the past,” he continued. “We’ve always had a focus on small business and entrepreneurs, but really doubling down on that focus by not being just a technology library, but being a business and technology library.”
This article was created as a collaboration between Built In Idaho, Boise Startup Week and Trailhead.