360-Degree Innovation Ecosystem for Hardtech and & Physical Product Innovation

Chicago, IL

Venture Challenge

Federal Share: $1,287,896
Local Match: $1,518,104

mHUB will scale its existing two-year pilot program that supports startup/small-to-medium enterprise (SME) manufacturers to innovate new hard tech and physical products through research and development (R&D) assistance to move their products from concept to the marketplace quicker. The proposed 360-Degree Hard Tech Innovation Ecosystem, a.k.a. mHUB Product Development (PD) program, will bring together startups/SMEs and high-skill engineering talent to accelerate R&D. This program will recruit a range of startups/SMEs, and entrepreneurs representing diverse populations to participate in a talent-based marketplace that creates win-win opportunities while filling the gap in the availability of R&D in Illinois. Together, these groups will reduce the lag time it takes from R&D stage to production by six months to a year to advance manufacturing process innovations while supporting new hard tech and business creation.

mHUB PD has the potential to attract talent to the region, create new intellectual property, creating new jobs, and grow the regional economy. The outcomes of this three-year effort will be the rapid creation and deployment of technologies and physical products to accelerate and broaden the impact of startups/SMEs. mHUB PD will activate 500 contract engineers to support the needs of 120 startups/SMEs hard tech innovators resulting in 165 patents and creating 250 functional prototypes that will generate in excess of $200 million and the creation of over 1,000 jobs, all while infusing over $8 million in supplemental income.