Franklin Innovation Center to Open in June

Center for Innovation

Through a joint venture with the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, Williamson, Inc.’s new Innovation Center, which is slated to open this summer in the historic Haynes-Berry House, now renamed the LeHew Mansion on the Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens campus, is now accepting applications for short-term, dedicated office space for entrepreneurial businesses.

The 4,100 square foot 1889 LeHew Mansion (former O’More School of Design’s Fleming-Farrah Mansion and historic Haynes-Berry House) which will house the new Center for Innovation 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.”

“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,” adds Bari Beasley, president and CEO of the Heritage Foundation. “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 2021 with office space available beginning in July. For more information and instructions on how to apply for one of the dedicated office spaces, please visit FranklinInnovates.com.

About Williamson, Inc.

Williamson, Inc. incorporates the Chamber of Commerce and Office of Economic Development for Williamson County, Tennessee, which together provide unparalleled access to education, leadership development, relationship-building and up-to-the-minute information about doing business in one of the country’s fastest growing counties. The organization drives economic success in Williamson County through connecting, engaging, and activating the business community.

About the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN

Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include The Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. The Foundation brings county history to about 3,000 school children each year through the Heritage Classroom program as well as walking tours of downtown Franklin. Signature events and festivals of the Heritage Foundation include Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas which bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to downtown Franklin each year. The Heritage Foundation owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, the Downtown Franklin Association, and the organization’s newest division and current restoration project, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit www.williamsonheritage.org.


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