The former editor of Time magazine, Walter Issacson, the renowned biographer of a slew of innovators including Leonardo Da Vinci and Steve Jobs wrote, “What causes innovation? Why does it happen, and how might we nurture it? …most feats of sustained innovation cannot and do not occur in an iconic garage or the workshop of an ingenious inventor. They occur when people of diverse talents and mindsets and expertise are brought together, preferably in close physical proximity where they can have frequent meetings and serendipitous encounters.”
Innovation DuPage (ID) celebrated its Grand Opening last week with a ribbon cutting and public Open House. Between 250-300 people walked through the doors at the remodeled Glen Ellyn Civic Center to learn more about how ID will raise the economic development bar as a business incubator and accelerator for the entire region. The West Suburban Chamber of Commerce is one of ID's partners, which means WSCCI members can reap the benefits and have access to the facility and resources.
Where will the next Uber, Groupon or Airbnb sprout? Hopefully the answer is in this region where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people will become gainfully employed. The thinking goes, if we help that organization to prosper, if we eliminate the hurdles an entrepreneur must overcome to achieve success, if we connect them easily to resources, then it will be more likely growth will happen here and happen faster than it would without the resources of an entire community behind it.
Innovation DuPage is the conduit that offers entrepreneurs the resources of an entire region. By connecting its members to mentors, coaches, education, research institutions and government, ID becomes the mechanism by which “people of diverse talents and mindsets and expertise are brought together,” as Issacson so eloquently described.
What’s involved? ID offers different levels of membership that allows entrepreneurs to access work space on either nights and weekends or 24/7 based on their need. ID hosts events to benefit its members such as workshops, pitch competitions, office hours, hackathons and boot camps. Programming is developed to address the challenges identified by member companies and participating entrepreneurs to meet their specific needs and challenges. Innovation DuPage pairs its members with experienced mentors to foster introductions and guidance to help a budding company grow more quickly than it would on its own.
Ready to get involved? If you’re starting a company or trying to nurture one, you owe it to yourself to investigate how you can meet your goals more quickly with an ID membership. If you have experience to offer a growing company, hop the ID website and investigate the “Collaboration” tab to see if it sounds like something you’re interested in doing. Either way, please follow ID's progress on social media and at InnovationDuPage.org or at 630-942-3340.