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Innovation Lab location

The Innovation Lab, located at 131 2nd Avenue NE in Independence.

INDEPENDENCE – Dupaco Community Credit Union and the Dubuque-based Creative Adventure Lab will combine programming content and expertise to empower financial education, community innovation, and entrepreneurship in a new space called The Innovation Lab in Independence.

The Innovation Lab, located at 131 2nd Avenue NE, offers coworking space, innovation services, meeting space, and team-building activities designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses launch and grow their enterprises.

The space will host scheduled Dupaco financial education sessions and one-on-one consultations by appointment for both members and non-members. The Innovation Lab also features a Dupaco live video teller, which doubles as a publicly accessible 24-hour automated teller machine (ATM).

“As a not-for-profit cooperative, Dupaco’s mission is to empower people and improve their economic and social well-being,” said Dupaco Chief Marketing Officer Dave Klavitter. “Small business entrepreneurship is one way to help people better their financial positions. This Innovation Lab is a place for people in the community to connect to each other and Dupaco.”

The Innovation Lab in Independence is also supported by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

“It is always great to welcome new businesses into Buchanan County!” said Lisa Kremer, executive director of the Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC). “Buchanan County is ahead of many counties, both large and small, by being able to offer not one, but two coworking spaces. Adding the new coworking option in Independence to the existing CoWork 591 in Jesup creates boundless opportunities for the entrepreneurs within our county. It is especially exciting to have the additional services that Innovation Lab provides. The partnership with Dupaco and the Iowa Economic Development Authority makes the services they are able to provide those within Buchanan County innovative and unique. I look forward to working with them in the future.”

While the location is not a full-service Dupaco branch, and a Dupaco staff person won’t always be on-site, Dupaco’s Community Outreach and Education team will offer regular financial education opportunities, small business programming, and presentations through scheduled appointments at the new Innovation Lab. A schedule of events will be posted online at www.dupaco.com/independence.

Dupaco’s community outreach team also will meet with members through scheduled appointments, and will be providing educational programming and presentations at the Innovation Lab, which will be free for anyone to attend.

“The Innovation Lab is not a full-service credit union branch, but it is a point where members can connect with Dupaco,” said Klavitter. “So, we’ve simply dubbed places like this a Dupaco Connect.”

The Dupaco Connect in Independence will provide existing members a connection point with a live Dupaco video teller for many of the same transactions they can do inside a branch, such as deposit cash and checks, do withdrawals, transfers, loan payments, order checks, and more. Dupaco employees located at a central location in Dubuque will remotely operate the video teller machines.

“We expect the video tellers to increase future opportunities for member convenience – to serve more members, in more places, with expanded hours of service,” said Klavitter.

Dupaco is partnering with the nonprofit Creative Adventure Lab because of its mission to foster creativity and innovation to benefit the community. According to Klavitter, Creative Adventure Lab specializes in using creativity and innovation to help entrepreneurs and small businesses be successful.

The Innovation Lab is a great solution to provide high-quality entrepreneurship programs to smaller communities.

“More than 40 percent of Americans live in rural communities, and these communities struggle to grow their economy and retain a talented workforce,” said Jordan DeGree, executive director for Creative Adventure Lab and the Innovation Lab. “Unfortunately, for these smaller communities, useful innovation and entrepreneurship support services are primarily concentrated in urban centers, leaving many entrepreneurs and businesses with a difficult choice to either forego the competitive advantage these supports provide or leave their community for a larger city.

“Dupaco was our first choice in this partnership,” DeGree continued. “The Innovation Lab goes hand-in-hand with Dupaco’s mission to empower people to improve their economic and social well-being. The financial education and outreach services Dupaco provides to communities they already serve will greatly enhance the Innovation Lab and allow entrepreneurs another great option to launch, grow, and remain competitive in their own business space,” said DeGree.

Together, Dupaco and Creative Adventure Lab are hosting a virtual open house where viewers will get a tour and learn more about the newly complete Innovation Lab on Wednesday, November 18. You can participate in the virtual open house by visiting www.dupaco.com/independence.

To learn more about Creative Adventure Lab’s Innovation Lab, visit www.innovationlab.us.

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