Story by: Anna Barker, MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach
Michael Lane is a twenty-two year old engineering student from Amory, Mississippi, who is changing the way that MSU student innovators create.
Lane is the manager of The Makerspace at Mississippi State University. The Makerspace, often referred to as The Factory, provides students with resources to make their ideas a reality.
“A lot of students that come into the E-Center don’t have technical backgrounds and so many of the start-ups are technical projects,” Lane said. “This gives them a pool of students to work with and a place to meet co-founders. And for the students who need space or tools for prototyping, they can have access to this equipment.”
“I grew up around tools and spent time working on construction sites with my dad,” he said. “I realized how important it is for people who design to actually know how to build what they are designing. That’s why I decided to get involved in the Makerspace and give people the opportunities that I had growing up: to use tools, build what they want, and be a part of projects.”
In fact, Lane developed the concept for his own startup company, MakerSync, by looking for solutions to existing problems in The MakerSpace.
“I came up with the idea for MakerSync because one of our biggest issues in The Factory is how to run the space more efficiently from a safety standpoint, which is important for the university,” said Lane.
MakerSync, a management solutions company, developed a system to aid in the administration and day-to-day management of MakerSpaces . It was founded to streamline the running of makerspaces and make them safer for their users.
“With this in mind, we started developing what we needed in our MakerSpace to make it better. We started researching to see why some makerspaces failed when they did, and what others were doing that made them successful,” he said. “We used this to develop my company, which manages existing makerspaces and helps spread the maker movement.”
The MakerSpace is only a small piece of the entrepreneurship network expanding across MSU’s campus. This past year, The Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach helped more than 200 students develop companies of their own.
“From what I have seen, the hardest part of being an innovator is actually getting up and doing it. It’s easy to have an idea, but the majority of people go nowhere with that. My biggest piece of advice is that no matter how silly you think your idea sounds- try it.”
Check out more about Michael and The MakerSpace below: