DuPage County is taking another run at establishing a technology center. This time, it's doing a so-called virtual launch for Rev3, an innovation center that would include the next generation of digital technology along with a partnership with local manufacturers to bring those devices to life.
Choose DuPage, a public-private group that has already provided some seed money of up to $15,000 in researching the concept, aims to start pitching the idea to investors later this month.
"This has been long overdue," said Greg Bedalov, president and CEO of Choose DuPage.
Rev3 will include 3-D printing, cloud computing and the next-generation of digital products and services along with the manufacturing sector to help bring those ideas to life. The concept would allow businesses to create prototypes as well as build and assemble products. Amenities could include laser cutters, electronic equipment, machine shops, among others. The center also could provide events and programs for education and for networking, Bedalov said.
But they want to make it clear: There's no specific site selected yet for this center. In fact, it may not be just one site and could have several locations in DuPage. And those sites could be chosen by the technology companies, entrepreneurs and manufacturers themselves, Bedalov said.
"We're doing this virtual launch so the customers can tell us what would make the most sense for them," he said.
Choose DuPage has already held focus groups and approached state officials about the plan.
A few years ago, DuPage attempted to establish the DuPage National Technology Park near the airport. But that plan fizzled and it was later renamed The DuPage Business Center.
"This is not like that tech park," Bedalov insisted. "There, they had hundreds of acres of land already selected. This is more like a think tank."
He said the new concept would be closer to Chicago's 1871 tech center.
"We hope Rev3 will be complimentary to 1871 and perhaps it could even work together at some point," Bedalov said.
Whatever business or idea is created at Rev3, Bedalov hopes that it stays there to help boost the local economy.
"We're hoping the next Groupon or the next Twitter will be born there, and then it can be cultivated there and stay in DuPage," Bedalov said.
Neil Kane, president of Illinois Partners, which assists companies and universities in commercializing technology, has been hired by Choose DuPage on the Rev3 launch.
"We want to be sure that we can properly characterize the demand and where to build it and what features it should have," Kane said. "This way it is designed properly for the clientele."
He said Rev3 already has a strong board of advisers and is kicking off a series of programs soon.
"It's all about the community, collaboration and mentoring, and it's all there now," Kane said.
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