Northwest Indiana entrepreneurs as well as Region residents considering bringing new products to market or launching a new service can turn to Purdue University Northwest for help.
The university landed a $386,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, one of 44 awarded nationwide through the Regional Innovation Strategies Program’s FY19 i6 Challenge. The challenge is a national initiative designed to support the creation of centers for innovation and entrepreneurship to bring products and services to market faster as well as launch viable companies and create new jobs.
The grant will support PNW’s program, Concept to Commercialization 2020, which is a catalyst for bringing an innovation economy to the Northwest Indiana region, said Niaz Latif, PNW interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost.
“Our goal is to foster advanced manufacturing related to entrepreneurship and workforce development,” said Latif. “The ambitious participants we intend to serve in this program will not only have access to state-of-the-art equipment in CMEC but will also tap into Purdue Northwest’s vast resources of intellectual capital, leadership assets and community partnerships.”
CMEC, within the College of Technology, will house the C2C-2020 program. Mont Handley, entrepreneur in residence and associate director for CMEC said the 18,000-square-foot CMEC facility in Hammond already provides the equipment and machinery for prototype development and testing, proof of concept manufacturing and space for specialized workforce training and workshops.
“What makes this program truly transformational for entrepreneurs, though, will be the connections with PNW’s expert faculty, as well as local and state workforce agencies and economic development groups,” Handley said. “All will be working together to put participants on a path from concept to prototype to sustainable business.”
The program intends to serve hundreds of participants in the first two years from Lake, Porter, La Porte, Newton, Jasper, Pulaski and Starke counties.
Participants will learn start-up strategies, essentials of small business management, intellectual property and leadership. Purdue Northwest hopes its program will spur economic development across the Region.