The Innovation Hub evolved from idea to completion despite a downturn in the local economy. Uintah County has the highest unemployment rate in Utah, with 11% unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic and the reduction of oil and gas industries.

The Hub started three years ago when over 20 community leaders joined together to take a significant step in diversifying an economy heavily reliant on the oil and gas industry. A committee was formed representing 12 area entities in addition to small tech businesses and entrepreneurs. The group recognized the Basin’s future economy must incrementally move to non-energy production job creation by targeting online workforce opportunities, small business creation, and technology-based businesses.

The vision for a Co-Working and Entrepreneur Center received a significant boost in June 2019 when the Governor’s Office of Economic Development solicited grant applications for rural co-working and online innovation centers. The Uin-Tech Committee submitted a grant with renderings and received $223,000 towards construction. With additional funds from the county, city, and Strata Networks (the Basin’s high-speed fiber provider), the Hub underwent a major remodel.

The Hub’s development is a prime example of partnerships between state and local entities to accomplish a community goal.