By Brian Kleemann
Innovation DuPage continues to build momentum, and the latest agreement approved by the College of DuPage Board of Trustees demonstrates the support for a collaborative network of entrepreneurs within a cooperative venture aimed at growth and economic development.
In fact, several startups from both DuPage County and across the nation have now joined the effort to engage in a leading-edge epicenter along with a host of more than 50 business leaders who will serve as mentors for Innovation DuPage entrepreneurs.
The agreement detailed the operational relationship between COD and Innovation DuPage, which officially formed in March as a nonprofit entity. With the upcoming launch of the second “Owner to CEO” business accelerator cohort program aimed at small businesses, Innovation DuPage continues to build programming, identify mentors and attract entrepreneurs.
“This is another important step in the College’s unwavering support of this extraordinary venture. Innovation DuPage will have positive impact on regional economic development and entrepreneurship,” said College of DuPage President Dr. Ann Rondeau. “Innovation DuPage will also raise the level of teaching and learning in abundant ways. Successful entrepreneurs, new business developers and students will come together to learn, grow, invent, innovate, create and succeed. The result will be new learning, terrific interaction and increased prosperity for all of DuPage County.”
College of DuPage initially developed Innovation DuPage with Choose DuPage and the Village of Glen Ellyn. Benedictine University, Elmhurst College, Northern Illinois University, Indiana Tech, Village of Woodridge and Chamber 630 have joined the effort. Travis Linderman, Managing Director of Innovation DuPage, already has begun delivering support services to eight startups that were eager to tap into the resources that this new venture offers.
“Daily progress is being made with the support of our partners. Service to small businesses, entrepreneurs and students hungry to get involved in innovative projects have been enhanced by the strong network of mentors that are uniting behind the mission of Innovation DuPage,” he said. “We are engaging with innovative thinkers from local high schools through the exceptional institutions of higher education in the region, all the way to our two National Laboratories (Argonne and Fermilab). A talent pipeline is being established using these strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts. So far, the excitement level is high and a diverse set of entrepreneurs desire to engage with ID.”
Innovation DuPage will be located in the Glen Ellyn Civic Center. College of DuPage and the Village of Glen Ellyn are jointly undertaking renovations to the center, with Innovation DuPage to be located in 8,200 square feet of currently vacant space. Work is expected to begin by the end of the year, with a projected completion date of spring 2019.
Deanne Mazzochi, Chairman of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees, said Innovation DuPage will be a community resource that will benefit many.
“Innovation DuPage will provide open access for entrepreneurs and business development while providing flex space to suit many interests,” she said. “Expanding the capacity of individuals, firms and communities to maximize the use of their skills supports the innovations that drive economic growth.”