mHUB Receives $1.3 Million EDA Grant to Scale Outsourced Innovation Practice for SMEs

mHUB Receives $1.3 Million EDA Grant to Scale Outsourced Innovation Practice for SMEs

  Grant from the Economic Development Administration will support growth in mHUB’s Product Development Services to connect small and medium-sized manufacturers with highly-skilled engineering talent for outsourced product innovation


CHICAGO (September 16, 2020) – Today mHUB, a leading independent hardtech innovation center, announced that The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded mHUB with a $1.3M Build to Scale grant. Designed to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in the U.S., EDA awarded 52 organizations from 36 states with Build to Scale grants, totaling $35M. 


“mHUB’s continued growth and success is proof that Illinois remains a desirable destination for manufacturing and innovation,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Erin B. Guthrie. “New federal dollars will allow mHUB to support more Illinois entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams while generating products that keep our state at the forefront for manufacturing and innovation. Congratulations to mHUB on this recognition and new investments that will support economic growth and jobs for our Illinois communities.”

mHUB will receive $1.3 million over three years to scale its Product Development (PD) Services that connect entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, developers and other highly skilled innovators with small-to-medium enterprise (SMEs) manufacturers to accelerate research and development (R&D) and bring new physical products to market faster. The funding will bolster recruitment and support of innovators and SMEs from diverse populations to participate in mHUB PD’s talent-based marketplace that creates valuable new opportunities for innovation and fills the R&D gap in Illinois for SMEs. The funding will also support the development of a digitized platform for mHUB PD that will create greater access and matchmaking for more innovators and SMEs. 

 "Many entrepreneurs fail early because they are forced to choose between building their businesses and securing a steady income stream,” said Haven Allen, chief executive officer and co-founder of mHUB. “The model we built provides a revenue stream and runway to get over that hump, while also connecting small and medium-sized manufacturers to much-needed talent to innovate. It’s a true win-win for innovation in the industry.” 

After launching in 2018, mHUB PD has supported more than 60 SMEs and manufacturers, developed 95 unique physical products and more than 1500 concepts, and extended mHUB members’ entrepreneurial runway by infusing more than $1.2 million of income directly into individual community members’ hands. Through design brainstorms, proof of concepts, and product development led by mHUB’s talented community of highly skilled entrepreneurs, participating SMEs have identified significant improvement in the output of their research and development (R&D) efforts. 

 "It’s been amazing to see such great impact in just these first few years of the program working with companies on automation, IoT implementation, commercial equipment, medical and consumer device and more,” said Bill Fienup, director of innovation services and co-founder of mHUB. “By increasing access to the program beyond our membership, we can diversify talent and skill sets which will drive impact for more companies and entrepreneurs.” 

With this grant award, mHUB will recruit and support more than triple its current pool of innovators in the mHUB PD program and aims to support 120 businesses develop new hardtech physical products and adoption of automation. The recruitment effort to support this scale will begin immediately and comes in tandem with a new program that mHUB is launching to offer 50 free memberships for designers, engineers and product development professionals whose careers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Membership relief will be available for three months and priority for the program will be given to women and innovators of color. 

mHUB’s PD services provide quality, efficient, and cost-effective results to many distinguished clients, including Newell Brands, Marmon, RhinoAG, ATKearney, K8 Ventures, Prince Castle, and many more. It has double bottom-line impact by supporting existing business build new product lines and through support entrepreneurs with supplemental income. 

 To learn more about mHUB Product Development services, visit https://mhubchicago.com/mHUBPD. 

Engineers, designers and product development professionals looking to take advantage of the COVID-19 relief program can submit interest at https://mhubchicago.com/COVID19ContractorRelief.

 

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About mHUB 


 As a leading independent hardtech and manufacturing innovation center, mHUB exists to convene the entrepreneurial ecosystem around physical product innovation to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive. The mHUB community includes over 270 active and alumni startups and small businesses supported by a deep talent pool of product designers and developers, entrepreneurs, engineers and manufacturers, corporate leaders, industry experts, mentors and investors. mHUB provides a hyper-resourced environment to entrepreneurs with the goal of commercializing new hardtech innovation that will lead to new businesses, intellectual property, investment, revenue and job creation. For more information go to www.mhubchicago.com.

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