Take a tour of The Generator—Alabama’s most unique maker space


The Generator—a maker space at the University of North Alabama
UNA’s Sanders College of Business + Technology has taken interactive learning to new heights. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

If innovation had a breathable and moveable form, it would be the University of North Alabama’s maker space, The Generator.

If you’re tired of traditional classroom settings, you’re going to love this amazing space. Filled with top-notch technology, The Generator was designed for students interested in growing or starting their own business.

Read on to learn about all the cool things you’ll find in The Generator + how you can use the space yourself.

Nothing like it in the state

You don’t want to miss touring this amazing space. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

An educator with a vision

Mitch Hamm—Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNA
Mitch Hamm loves showing off the amazing work his students accomplish in the maker space. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

When Mitch Hamm, Director of Innovation + Entrepreneurship, came to UNA in 2015, the school had a few entrepreneurship classes but lacked a maker space.

As a successful businessman and innovator with over 25 years of experience, Hamm knew that great ideas couldn’t stay in the classroom. If students wanted to start their own businesses, they needed a space where they could produce the products they were brainstorming.

Hence, the maker space—or The Generator—came to exist. Spanning 6,000 square feet, The Generator is located in the The Joel R. Anderson Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Studies.

Top-notch technology

Students working in the maker space
Starting a business is more feasible when you have the right resources—and you can find them at UNA. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

UNA’s Sanders College of Business + Technology added The Generator—as well as the Joel R. Anderson BBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship—to prioritize students’ entrepreneurial goals. The maker space offers a secure and enriching environment where students can try out business ideas before launching them on the open market.

 “It’s all about entrepreneurship. Innovation is about failing fast and failing cheap. If you’re not failing a good bit, you’re not pushing the envelope. So, we’re gonna work together as a team to create something that’s viable in the market.”

Mitch Hamm, Director of Innovation + Entrepreneurship

In The Generator, students can find everything they need to start or grow their businesses. Check out a few of the amazing tools inside:

  • Laser cutter + engraver
  • Sewing machine
  • Vinyl cutter
  • Metal chop saw
  • Large drill press
  • 3D printer

View the complete list of tools in The Generator.

Looking for a school that gives you the resources you need to start your own business? Apply to UNA today!

Open to all UNA students

Students working on projects in Generator
No one is an island in The Generator—students love collaborating and teaching each other new skills. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

The Generator is not just open to students procuring their Joel R. Anderson BBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship—it’s open to all UNA students interested in starting or growing their own business. Accepted students receive 24-hour access to the maker space and get connected with mentors from the faculty and business community.

These students are also taught how to be fiscally responsible and can develop a working business model with new student business owners.

“Some people may find The Generator daunting at first, but once they come down to see it, they realize it’s easy to get started. Together, we try, fail, learn. Do it again. Repeat. That’s how we build confidence.”

Mitch Hamm, Director of Innovation + Entrepreneurship

Ready to take your business to new heights? Learn more about The Generator and apply to UNA today!

Sponsored by:

North Alabama - Sanders College of Business and Technology
Lacey Muenstermann
Lacey Muenstermann
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