Fostering Suburban Entrepreneurship

Written by Nic Zito, Rev3 Innovation Center In today’s economic and business climate, innovation is a word often thrown around with a loose definition. DuPage County is helping to cement that definition by fostering a first of its kind innovation center, Rev3, focused on passionate entrepreneurs in the technology and manufacturing realms. In practical terms, to us innovation means filling a previous void in start-up business opportunities for talented small-business owners through the provision of: physical co-working space, private office space, educational programming, networking, a soon-to-be-built lab space, and one-on-one business mentoring.

Incubators increase success rates

More than ever, people are branching off on their own to start or begin companies, and the truth remains that the failure rate for such new ventures is high. Businesses started in incubator settings have almost double the success rate after five years, as opposed to those who have not; a success rate of 87% vs 44%. Incubators provide small businesses with a lower overhead cost environment to test the market validity of ideas before scaling up. This type of environment also offers instant support in a variety of backgrounds to aid start-up companies. Tangible examples include web developers helping to create e-commerce-based sites for companies specializing in physical products who have no prior technology experience and vice versa. Rev3 is bringing together a multitude of start-up services in the marketing, communication, prototyping, legal, financial, and human resource realms.

Having the right partners helps

Training and internship-matching opportunities also exist for companies in such a setting, and Rev3 is fortunate to be partnered with Northern Illinois University in this regard. The technology and manufacturing departments of universities are great resources for start-up incubators by being able to provide expertise and training on equipment and software programs. They have offered training and workshops in the areas of: rapid prototyping, 3D printing demonstrations, Arduino electrical programming, hardware construction, personal communication, marketing seminars, legal entity formation, and financial forecasting.

Open for business

Rev3 opened the doors to its first private office and co-working members in the beginning of November, with nine companies, currently: a diverse group, which includes a financial modeling and business planning software, a website translation and global marketing firm, freelance web and mobile developers, and an established manufacturing company, to name a few. This diverse ecosystem creates great business connections and partnerships that will result in added economic multiplier effects in the immediate region.

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