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VOL. 128 | NO. 131 | Monday, July 08, 2013

Lemmonds Forges Ahead With New Enterprise

By Andy Meek

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After years spent helping entrepreneurs bring their startups to life, Elizabeth Lemmonds has moved on from the organization now known as Start Co. and is working on a venture of her own.

LEMMONDS

She’s a co-founder of Forge, a new entity that will operate in an as-yet undetermined physical space and function as a kind of mashup of art space and fabrication shop.

Its tagline is “connect, collaborate, create,” and the idea is to bring together entrepreneurs, artists, engineers and inventors into one space where they’re all doing their own thing as well as interacting with and even learning from each other.

It’s still in the early stages, but Forge, which Lemmonds is co-founding with Lisa Toro, already is coming together. Discussions are underway about everything from funding to location.

“One of my big passions is connecting dots, looking for places where there can be inspired collaboration,” said Lemmonds, whose career has included working as the chief branding officer for LaunchYourCity Inc. and as director of communications and marketing for The Leadership Academy.

What she’s envisioning for the form Forge takes includes having a gallery or exhibition space so that exhibitions and events can be hosted, which would bring more people into the space and give it more visibility.

The venture already has a website, www.forgememphis.com, and a Twitter account (@goforge). The idea is for Forge to offer productivity tools and inspiration in a co-working environment, including dedicated office or studio space and a high-tech “playground” with things available like robotic toys, LEGOs, and 3Doodler pens, which are sort of like glue guns used for making 3D creations.

Other features envisioned for the Forge space include a break room, quiet lounge and a conference room with a projector, interactive whiteboard and Web conferencing capability.

Production tools for rapid prototypes, small batch runs and general experimentation would include items like 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, screen printing equipment and metalworking equipment. There will also be a software lab with access Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud, among other things.

The idea is for a diverse group of people to work there and share space there – “interdisciplinary innovation,” in Lemmonds’ words.

The venture would host events to showcase its residents, including exhibitions and panels with Forge artists and engineers. It also would host pop-up “Forge Fairs,” where the opportunity to sell creative work would be available.

“All this would provide resources to people who might not normally have access to resources at this stage,” Lemmonds said. “And it would get engineers and artists working together.”

Because it’s still early, details may yet shift a bit. As it stands now, different membership options would provide tiered levels of benefits and access to the full suite of Forge features and services.

Day passes for access to Forge would be available for some membership levels, and discounted rates would be offered to groups like students and members of the military. Also, a conference room and gallery space would be available to the public for event rentals.

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