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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Catalyze Chicago


Chicago, IL

Project Name

mHub: Product Development & Innovation Ecosystem for Chicagoland Region.



Award Amount


Today, the Chicago area’s manufacturing industry employs over 400,000 people. It generates more than $72 billion annually, making it the fourth largest segment of the regional economy. Sectors within computer electronics, health and medical devices, and fabricated metals and heavy machinery are thriving. However, there is currently significant under-investment in manufacturing innovation. Baby boomers who were the backbone of the industry are retiring and taking their skills and expertise with them. Young talent is leaving the industry, unaware of the possibilities for technical innovation and entrepreneurial work. Our generation has the opportunity to ensure that Chicago and our Heartland’s manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive.

mHUB is Chicago’s first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing. It will be home to ten fabrication labs, including electronics, plastic fabrication, metals and rapid prototyping as well as a microfactory for small production runs. mHub will galvanize and connect the manufacturing ecosystem which includes long-time manufacturers, universities rich with research and talent, the entrepreneurial community made up of makers and technologists, and investors who are eager to support new businesses emerging in this sector and region. mHUB is a nonprofit collaboration among Chicago’s leaders in business, innovation, research, and product development. mHUB was incubated by World Business Chicago’s Advisory Council for Chicagoland Manufacturing, in partnership with UI Labs, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition and Catalyze.

There is much at stake if mHUB succeeds in its endeavor. New talent will come to Chicago and the Midwest, and remain here to build products and businesses. The region will attract investors and investments that will contribute to the intellectual and financial growth of neighborhoods and communities. Essential jobs will be maintained, and thousands of new ones will be created. Together, the mHUB community will ensure that Chicago’s legacy remains as a region that builds products, and also the future.