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updated: 6/18/2015 1:05 PM

New library space opens for launching businesses

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  • Jose and Janet Osorio of Naperville browse materials at the NaperLaunch business startup center, which hosted a grand opening Wednesday at Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. Janet is contemplating starting a business.

      Jose and Janet Osorio of Naperville browse materials at the NaperLaunch business startup center, which hosted a grand opening Wednesday at Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. Janet is contemplating starting a business.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • The NaperLaunch business startup center at Nichols Library offers workshops, mentorship and technology to help entrepreneurs start new ventures. NaperLaunch began in September, but opened officially Wednesday in a redesigned space on the upper level of the library at 200 W. Jefferson Ave.

      The NaperLaunch business startup center at Nichols Library offers workshops, mentorship and technology to help entrepreneurs start new ventures. NaperLaunch began in September, but opened officially Wednesday in a redesigned space on the upper level of the library at 200 W. Jefferson Ave.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

The NaperLaunch business startup center now has a space to call its own within Nichols Library in downtown Naperville.

In a newly redesigned alcove on the building's upper floor, NaperLaunch introduced itself to the community with a grand opening Wednesday evening.

Roughly 60 visitors attended and many tried out a 3-D printer, a silhouette cutter, video editing software and other technology designed to support entrepreneurs as they launch businesses using the library at 200 W. Jefferson Ave. as their workspace.

"Everybody seemed pretty impressed with what was available," said Kent Palmer, business librarian.

The multipurpose space, designed in blues and grays with flashes of red, can be set up for collaborative work, classroom-style seating or group workshops.

Before the build out and Wednesday's grand opening, NaperLaunch had been operating since September using other areas of the library. Renovations to create the alcove dedicated to the startup center were part of $1 million in work to spruce up the Nichols and Naper Boulevard library branches.

Aside from technology and business resources, NaperLaunch also offers one-on-one appointments with business librarians, mentorship opportunities and help with creating logos, commercials and business cards.

The library developed NaperLaunch as a blend of a business incubator that offers support to those starting new ventures and a co-working center that encourages collaboration among independent professionals with complementary skills.

"There's a lot of different resources that are available beyond the space, but everyone was impressed also to find out that it's a co-working space where they could actually come every day to work," Palmer said. "There's a lot of people who work from home and when they find that out, they're really intrigued because it can be lonely."

Officials from the Naperville Development Partnership and the city of Naperville helped develop the idea for NaperLaunch, which is modeled after a business incubation center created at the Scottsdale Public Library in Arizona through a partnership with Arizona State University.

"I was happy for them to take ownership and run it in their own way," said Robert Fieseler, a former city council member who assisted with the early stages of creating NaperLaunch.

For details about NaperLaunch services, visit naperville-lib.org or call Palmer at (630) 961-4100 ext. 6328.

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