North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College another first for the state: a 1920s textile building re-created from the inside out as a regional center for the way people work today and will work in the days to come.

“We’ve got some really smart people in this state, and now in this building, making life better for people,” Cooper said after a tour. “We’re talking about people being more prosperous and being all they can be.”

In a little over an hour inside The Hurt Hub, Cooper and Davidson President Carol Quillen listened in on a machine-learning interest group, shopped for groceries while wearing virtual reality goggles, chatted with the CEO of a cybersecurity firm, posed (unwittingly) for over-the-shoulder selfies by workspace sharers and learned about a brand-new window-washing drone technology developed by three Davidson seniors currently seeking venture capital to expand their company. Higher education and entrepreneurship are a solid fusion, Cooper said.The Hurt Hub is a 23,000-square-foot innovation hub and entrepreneurial co-working space that Davidson renovated in the old mill building to LEED Gold status.

It opened for business in July and even ahead of its official grand opening Sept. 6 is already serving as a fuel injector for the Lake Norman regional economy, said Mark McDowell, founder of LaunchLKN, a network for business startups that is headquartered at The Hurt Hub.McDowell is ready for Davidson students to get back next week.

“I think the students with the liberal arts degrees are the next wave coming in to tech,” he said. “What we actually need is human beings who are thinking critically. Read more from…

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