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July 28, 2014

InnovationLab in Sonora opens soon to help startup businesses

The InnovationLab will open Aug.5 at the former Tuolumne General Hospital, providing startup businesses with computer, prototype-making and other services.

The InnovationLab will open Aug. 5 at the former Tuolumne General Hospital, providing startup businesses with computer, prototype-making and other services.

The Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority created the program with help from several partners. An open house is planned for noon on opening day.

“The reason we’re doing all of this is we want businesses to start, build, grow and stay in Tuolumne County,” said Larry Cope, director of economic development, in a news release. “We want to develop an economic base of startup businesses that flow out of the InnovationLab.”

People across central California will have access to the services, including 3-D printers, gaming and application development computers and software, software design, an electronics lab and a metal and wood shop for creating prototypes.

The place will be open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Fees will be $59 to $99 per month depending on membership level, but from Aug. 5 to Nov. 5, a one-year membership will come with six months free.

The planners said the InnovationLab will be a place to socialize and collaborate for people interested in science and technology. It is based on a movement that began in Europe.

The program has funding from Tuolumne County, the Sonora Area Foundation, Kinematic Automation and Motherlode Internet.

It is on the third floor of the former Tuolumne General, 101 Hospital Road, just south of downtown Sonora. The hospital opened in 1849 to serve gold miners and closed in 2011.

For more information on the program, call (209) 989-4058 or go to www.tceda.net.

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