NAPERVILLE – After more than a year of planning, development and support building, the first tenants of the Rev3 Innovation Hub are nearing a move-in date.
Rev3 is the brainchild of Choose DuPage, an organization devoted to driving economic development in the county. Its creators aim to foster growth in up-and-coming industries.
Choose DuPage Business Services Director Nicholas Zito said manufacturing and technology are industries in which companies generate jobs beyond their organizations.
"For every dollar you invest in manufacturing, you get many more back in other areas," he said. "They are both leading and emerging sectors."
Three weeks ago, Rev3 signed a lease to rent offices, conference rooms and open space at Northern Illinois University's Naperville campus, 1120 E. Diehl Road. Zito said it will offer an array of options, including shared common areas and computer labs, conference rooms, private offices, a shipping facility and a manufacturing lab with a 3-D printer.
These amenities are intended to help businesses too small to warrant a large space and the enormous start-up costs of manufacturing a prototype that still need a base of operations.
“We have everyone from a true ideation stage, meaning they have a great idea on the back of a napkin that they think will be great that they need to see 3-D printed, all the way up to the mid-level, established businesses,” he said.
The first seven member entrepreneurs – a mix of software developers, e-commerce developers, intellectual property attorneys and manufacturers – will move into the space in early September. They and the others that come after will shape Rev3's offerings, Zito said. The hub's organizers are already looking at creating a digital media studio with editing software and a green screen based on requests from the starting team.
All these efforts are expended to foster an environment of collaboration and innovation that will benefit DuPage County manufacturing. Rev3 will host a series of rotating mentors who will have office hours in the building to serve as a resource for the up-and-coming businesses on how to develop and market their products and services.
“We want to help establish supply here, hire people in the county and form partnerships with big companies,” Zito said. “These businesses will be fostered here and hopefully grow and stay here.”
Participating companies will pay month-to-month to use the facility, with options for discounted fees for longer leases, he said. Access ranges from using the coworking space – including conference rooms and other shared areas – at $150 per month up to a full office rental for $900 to $1,000 per month. Those who need the manufacturing lab can pay $250 to $300 per month, pending its implementation in January. Rev3’s spaces would be open 24-hours-per-day to cater to those working on start-ups alongside other responsibilities.
Zito said the hub's creators hope to have as many as 350 members using its variety of services throughout the day.
“Our overall goal is not to just keep them and have them in our space forever,” said intern Nicholas Kavanau. “Our goal is to provide the companies what they need to move on. As much as we like to have them, we want to make companies that will go out into DuPage County. We want to give them what they need with a lower overhead cost to form their company and graduate them on.”
Zito said his history as a business owner has prepared him for the work he plans to do with Rev3.
“I am very excited to be an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs,” he said. “I know from personal experience about all the help and guidance that I needed but didn’t have access to when I started my company. Sometimes we’re so focused on getting our product to market and all the other auxiliary things fall to the wayside. So a collaborative environment is 100 percent what it comes down to.”
For more information on Rev3, visit www.rev3dupage.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-955-2087. Those interested in applying to become a member can find the application form online. Rev3 will hold a series of networking meetings called Coffee and Collaboration every Thursday through September.