As officials ceremoniously cut a red ribbon during the grand opening of Innovation DuPage, they all agreed that collaboration helped launch an initiative that is becoming a key player in regional economic development.
College of DuPage Interim President Dr. Brian Caputo thanked the many partners who came together during the development of Innovation DuPage. In particular, he expressed appreciation for the Village of Glen Ellyn, which worked closely with the College to convert 8,500 square feet in the Glen Ellyn Civic Center – including the former police department – into headquarters for Innovation DuPage.
“Converting what was once a police station as well as jail cells into a bustling professional environment was a seamless process thanks to the Village,” he said. “I also want to thank all of our many partners who worked in collaboration with us. They saw the vision and even remained patient throughout the renovation process.”
The space will allow start-ups and early-stage businesses to share ideas, grow, learn, and develop public and private partnerships. The new space also includes the Business Development Center (formerly the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship), which houses the Illinois Small Business Development Center, Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Illinois International Trade Center.
Village of Glen Ellyn President Diane McGinley praised the initiative and the collaborative effort that brought it to fruition.
“I am thrilled that it has come together so well,” she said. “This is an extraordinary space in downtown Glen Ellyn, and I want to thank Innovation DuPage and the Business Development Center for being catalysts to achieve our future development goals.”
During the grand opening, business, educational and governmental leaders as well as community members toured the new space and spoke with small business owners, who were on hand to share how Innovation DuPage helped them achieve their goals.
Innovation DuPage Board Chair Joseph Cassidy said the idea for Innovation DuPage began six years ago, when the College looked at how the Continuing Education department could increase its contribution to regional economic development and improve the regional talent pool.
“We conducted numerous studies, focus groups and surveys. We received several COD Foundation grants and applied for federal grants to inform our research,” he said. “In the end, what surfaced as the most significant area of impact for us came in the way of business incubation and acceleration – in short, support for the entrepreneurs who drive innovation and job creation.
“College of DuPage could have established Innovation DuPage on campus, but it is strengthened by the partnership with the Village. ID increases its visibility to not only District 502 residents but to people further away via the train line, three international airports and a great location in this dynamic, beautiful city center that is Glen Ellyn.”
Innovation DuPage has collaborated with a number of regional organizations and educational institutions, including the Village of Glen Ellyn, Choose DuPage, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, Benedictine University, Northern Illinois University, North Central College, Elmhurst College, DeVry University, Indiana Tech, Chamber630, Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce, Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce, County of DuPage, Village of Woodridge, workNet DuPage, Illinois Small Business Development Center, Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Illinois International Trade Center, Community Unit School District 200, Glenbard Township High School District 87, DuPage High School District 88, MACLYN, and Glen Ellyn Bank and Trust.
Travis Linderman, managing director of Innovation DuPage, thanked Cassidy for his years of hard work and the collaboration between partners and members, which is the driving force behind the new space.
“We plan to become the connective tissue between entrepreneurs, services and programs in DuPage County and throughout the region,” he said. “Today is the first step. The Innovation DuPage Team is ready to interact with your community.”
Dr. Caputo said Innovation DuPage closely aligns with the College’s goals of student success and promoting economic development.
“A significant generator of economic development in the region is now a reality,” he said. “The entrepreneurs and small businesses that come to Innovation DuPage will gain the necessary tools to be successful. This success will have a ripple effect throughout the county.”
Innovation DuPage empowers, inspires and informs entrepreneurs by focusing on educational, governmental and private sector resources and expertise in support of job creation and economic growth. Learn more at InnovationDuPage.org.
Pictured, from left: College of DuPage Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Christine Fenne, COD Interim President Dr. Brian Caputo, COD Provost Dr. Mark Curtis-Chávez, Innovation DuPage Board Chair Joseph Cassidy, Village of Glen Ellyn President Diane McGinley, Innovation DuPage Managing Director Travis Linderman, Glen Ellyn Village Manager Mark Franz, and DuPage County Board Member Tim Elliott. (Photo by Press Photography Network/Special to College of DuPage)