Jacksonville Transportation Authority Board of Directors approves the ‘Open Innovation Center'
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) Board of Directors approved lease terms between the JTA and the JAXUSA Partnership to create the ‘Open Innovation Center at JRTC’ business accelerator space inside the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla.JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. and JAXUSA President Aundra Wallace signed a memorandum of understanding during the October 29, 2020, board meeting.
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 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.”
“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.”
The 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. The innovation space will become a place to explore different innovation models and advance innovative thinking, Robinson said. The new direction for us at the JAX Chamber presents a brand of innovation that positions the region as an attractive partner for corporate innovation, entrepreneurism, and SMART City initiatives, Robinson said.
The Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla (JRTC) opened to the public on Monday, May 4, 2020, serving as the JTA’s main bus transfer facility, administrative headquarters and regional mobility hub. The 67,000-sqaure-foot complex includes service to JTA’s traditional bus routes, the First Coast Flyer Bus Rapid Transit network, the Skyway, paratransit, rideshare, and future mobility services like the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) autonomous vehicle network. The JRTC is also directly connected to the Intercity Bus Terminal, where customers can transfer to Greyhound, Megabus, and RedCoach lines.
About the JAXUSA Partnership
JAXUSA Partnership, a division of JAX Chamber, is Jacksonville’s regional economic development organization. JAXUSA Partnership recruits new companies and expands existing business to increase high-wage job growth, private capital investment and a highly skilled talent presence in Northeast Florida. The organization works with economic development partners in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns Counties; the independent authorities of JAXPORT, JAA, JEA and JTA; CareerSource Northeast Florida; and private-sector investors in its mission to be a catalyst for regional economic growth.