ITA Spotlight: mHub
Friday, April 20, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
What do you get when you cross a manufacturer with an entrepreneur? mHUB! Chicago’s innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing!
In 25 words or less, what is mHUB all about?
mHUB is creating the conditions for product innovation to thrive. Our mission is to galvanize Chicago’s manufacturing ecosystem by providing access to labs and equipment, attracting world-class talent, and fostering collaboration between industry and entrepreneurs to solve challenges and spark new ideas.
What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
mHUB's members create breakthrough products in robotics, connected devices, sensors, energy tech, unmanned vehicles, and other cutting-edge innovations. By providing our members nearly $5M of equipment and resources as well as access to industry insiders, mHUB helps turn ideas into prototypes, and prototypes into sustainable new businesses that drive economic impact, and ensure the region’s continued leadership in global manufacturing.
How did you get started?
mHUB began after World Business Chicago convened an advisory council of manufacturing leaders to further Mayor Emanuel’s Regional Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. The council was tasked with charting a course toward the next great era of Chicagoland manufacturing. The group determined that a manufacturing incubator would be a critical component to maintaining Chicago’s leadership in product innovation and manufacturing. The council selected Catalyze Chicago to serve as a partner for mHUB in its mission to create a vibrant, inventive community that would create breakthrough products and boost the local economy. Catalyze was chosen based on its track record as a successful product development incubator.
Catalyze’s members moved to mHUB’s 63,000 sqft. facility at 965 W. Chicago, which was previously Motorola Mobility and had the infrastructure to support the growing community. mHUB celebrated its grand opening in March of 2017.
How has your company culture evolved as mHUB has grown?
mHUB has grown in the last two years from its first 50 members to nearly 750 users of our space currently. Our members have been integral to the culture we are creating by providing valuable feedback and insights along the way. At its core, mHUB is a collaborative community where creativity is encouraged and new ideas thrive. We are always open to learning new ways to be inclusive and promoting diverse talent, ideas, and leadership.
What are your primary goals for mHUB?
mHUB’s main goal is to connect manufacturers and entrepreneurs to solve industry challenges and launch sustainable businesses.
Where do you see mHUB in two years? Five? Ten?
In the coming years, we would like to grow the mHUB community to greater than 2,000 users and continue expanding the resources necessary to launch product based businesses. This includes access to capital, customers and better connectivity with U.S. manufacturers.
What’s the No. 1 thing on your to-do list?
Growing our community while providing the best possible resources to launch successful product businesses along the way. Oops! Maybe that’s two things.
In your opinion, what are some of the best parts of being in business in Illinois?
We’re lucky to be in the heart of the manufacturing innovation industry with partners such as Marmon, GE, Molex, Arrow Electronics, and Chamberlain located in Chicago and eager to support our members. We are equally privileged to be a part of the Illinois innovation community that is filled with people and organizations, including ITA, working towards the same goal of growing Illinois’ economy. We have access to talent from some of the country’s most prestigious universities right in our backyard, and we are creating a pipeline to keep those people in Illinois. Illinois is exactly where we want to be.
What are the biggest challenges you face as you scale your business?
We want to make sure that we're driving on our mission to create collaboration that fuels innovation. The challenge is to make sure that the hard work we’re doing has a lasting impact on Chicago’s economy.
This one is all you… anything else you want to tell us?
We are always welcoming new members and partners. The best way to learn more about mHUB is to come see it for yourself! Schedule a tour at mhubchicago.com/tour