DuPage County manufacturing incubator nearing launch

An innovation center that aims to provide entrepreneurs with space and manufacturing technology to launch their ideas is soon to have a home in DuPage County.

Rev3 Innovation Center expects to choose a site in the next few weeks and open with shared office space for solopreneurs and small business people by mid-September, said Nic Zito, business services director for Choose DuPage, the county's economic development agency.

"We're 99 percent done with securing our space," Zito said.

Rev3 will be a roughly 10,000-square-foot business incubation center with a focus on manufacturing, and it will become an entity separate from Choose DuPage. A wood shop, a metal shop, production technology and 3-D printers will help people and companies create products and software to drive what Rev3 leaders call the third industrial revolution - the digital revolution.

But before the manufacturing facilities within Rev3 are ready sometime this fall, the innovation center will provide co-working space for rent. Zito said he expects web developers and digital ideas people, some of whom have been attending events Rev3 has sponsored since its digital launch last October, to be among users of the communal office area.

"I've been really happy with the growth and the turnout," Zito said about the seminars Rev3 has hosted on topics such as entrepreneurship, communication, electrical engineering and personal development. "We expect a lot of these people who have been coming to our evening events and informal meetup groups will end up utilizing the space."

Once Rev3 chooses a physical location, Zito said officials plan to host tours and announce information about rent prices for office space. Until then, more events are planned at various spots in the county, such as a networking lunch at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Ballydoyle Irish Pub & Restaurant in Downers Grove; a coffee break at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Panera Bread on Ogden Avenue in Naperville; and a small-business innovation research program on securing early-stage financing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, in room 164 of Northern Illinois University's Naperville campus.

"It's fun to get all these like-minded people together," Zito said. "And the best thing is it's already resulting in some pretty cool partnerships."

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