Archive for ‘News’ Category

 

“Made in the Stateline: EIGERlab”

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

“Made in the Stateline: EIGERlab”

ROCKFORD – Getting a business off the ground can be a challenge, but keeping one going is sometimes just as tough.

To survive, businesses need a competitive edge.  Sometimes that means developing a new product.  Other times, it’s improving the products companies have or the process used to make those products.  That’s where digital manufacturing comes in.

“Digital manufacturing isn’t scary,” said Federico Sciammarella, the interim Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at Northern Illinois University.  “Even a small business can benefit from how to simulate a process of theirs virtually, so they can understand where they might have bottlenecks, where they might run into problems, or how to optimize a process.”

Digital manufacturing can involve creating a process or simulating making a product to efficiently and inexpensively coming up with a prototype before making the real thing.  In the long run, that can save time and money.  It’s one of the reasons NIU EIGERlab in Rockford picked the topic for EIGERlab’s “Monthly Meetup.”

“EIGERlab is a not-for-profit business incubator,” said C49D Director Mike Cobert.  “We’re here to help businesses either get started or an existing business who has run into a speed bump and needs help getting through that we’re able to get them the help they need to further grow their business.”

These meetups are just part of what NIU EIGERlab does.  The organization also operates a Center for Product Development.

“We help individuals and businesses develop their products,” said Cobert.  “From the idea, all the way through engineering, manufacturing, and in a box in a warehouse ready to go to their customer.”

Information learned at events like this may just be the missing piece of the puzzle a company needs to thrive and possibly be able to hire more people.

“Any advantage we can give to businesses here locally in Rockford and the region to me is exciting because that means we’re helping and contributing to their growth and their continued success.”

NIU EIGERlab is also part of an innovation network offering product development help all over northern Illinois, Rockford, Elgin, Schaumburg, Naperville, and DeKalb.

Click here for WTVO’s video coverage.

Area Business ‘Incubators’ Help Budding Entrepreneurs With Planning, Execution

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Whether it’s Steve Jobs building a computer in his garage or Hector Boyardee cooking pasta at the Plaza Hotel, many American brands and businesses start from humble origins.  Current start-ups seek to replicate that success, but they don’t do it alone.

In this Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh discusses the groups that help northern Illinois small businesses get started.

Entrepreneurship is a promising but difficult job. People who believe they have a great idea for a product or service need to make sure there’s a market for it and have a solid business plan. Fortunately, northern Illinois businesses can get help from various incubators. 

Click here for the complete article and interview.

All In: After jumping, that first entrepreneurial step is a doozy

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

By Nicole Sado / For The Journal-Standard

Are you ready to jump? That’s the first question you need to answer as an entrepreneur. The answer has to have action, of course. I like to say that I “put the universe on notice” in the fall of 2013 when I spoke these words out loud: “I want to do something on the internet that will help all nonprofits.”

Yep, that’s how vague it was. I didn’t know what exactly; I just knew this was weighing heavy on my heart and mind for months and I needed to do something about it. After jumping, that first step is a doozy. An entrepreneur has to start moving forward, which means taking steps. None of the steps come in the same size; some feel more like baby steps, while others are like stretching across a crevasse.

Some of my steps were scribbling on a notepad what I wanted my site to look like and finding a web developer; others were traveling the country doing market research and understanding my customers. The key is, you have to keep moving.

People will give you directions, also known as advice. Listen to it all. You wouldn’t be able to act on every piece of advice and you shouldn’t, at least not right away. I have been so blessed to start this entrepreneurial venture in Freeport! It is a more supportive environment than I could’ve imagined! Thank you to everyone who has put in the time to learn and support me through this. Some of the advice I have in the back of my mind or written down for when the time is right. Some I took immediately, like when I was given the information about the NIU EIGERlab.

In 2015, I was one of the finalists in the NIU EIGERlab FastPitch competition. I won the inaugural Dale Faulkner Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. This was a key step as it came with a one-year membership to the NIU EIGERlab Business Incubation/Co-working space.

For that year, I had the opportunity to analyze what I’ve been doing for the last two years and answer the, “What’s next?” question. Sometimes, moving means pivoting and going in a new direction. Which is what I did in January 2016, when NonProfitTHRIVE.com was conceived. I was, for all intents and purposes, starting over. Now what? Keep moving forward.

Keep moving forward meant more steps, with more commitment and investment. I stopped seeing patients (I’m a chiropractor by profession), found a new web development company, and every day meant tweaking and redefining.

Every step in the process is so important and timed perfectly, as I know that this is bigger than me. I recently finished a seven-week intense business-acceleration program with gBETA of Beloit, a division of Genor8tor, a nationally ranked accelerator that invests in high-growth startups.

To say this experience was amazing is an understatement. The next steps … I’d love to tell you more.

Nicole Sado is founder/CEO, NonProfitTHRIVE

Article link

Student proposes Semi-Pro League

Monday, October 16th, 2017

ROCKTON – A Hononegah High School graduate is looking to get a semi-professional basketball team in Beloit started in the next year.

Omar Saulters, who is currently a student at Rock Valley College, was a finalist in the 2017 FastPitch Competition hosted by Northern Illinois University’s EIGERlab on Oct. 4. FastPitch gives entrepreneurs in all phases of business the chance to present their ideas, win cash prizes, and get feedback and exposure. High school seniors and college-age students are welcome to participate.

Saulters won the 2016 Student Award to fund his publishing company, Salted Art.

Since he won the student award last year, this year he entered the adult competition. He said the judges at EIGERlab enjoyed the idea of the atmosphere a semi-professional basketball team would bring.

Click here for the entire article and photo.

 

2017 FastPitch Competition Winner, Dr. Trevor Gibbs with Anestand

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Rockford, Ill. —The 11th annual FastPitch Competition was a colossal success with 32 eager presenters sharing their ideas, products, services, and apps vying for over $7,500 dollars in prizes and presenting, possibly, the Next Big Thing!

Trevor Gibbs, M.D., took home the $5,000 first prize for his AnestandTM product. AnestandTM holds supplies essential for an anesthesiologist to induce anesthesia in a hygienic way, which keeps the items immediately available at arm’s length. Currently, there is no designated location to place all the items doctors use to put a patient to sleep. The device is versatile as it can attach to the operating room table or any pole, post or hospital bed, allowing the anesthesiologist to work in a variety of situations. Gibbs has been perfecting his product with the assistance of NIU EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development Team.

Jared Larson took second place with his innovative fishing-related tool, the GunkStick, which offers fishermen and women a solution to tackling the problem of keeping their rods and reels free of debris. It is designed to catch and remove cottonwood seeds, weeds, and other debris before it creates a problem. This product is currently sold in Bass Pro Shops and online. Larson was proud to share that all of their processes and products are sourced in the USA. Visit www.mischieffishing.com for more information.

Elisabeth Stecki, the third place winner, presented her Travel Sufficient Alcohol Kits or TSA-Kitä. The TSA-Kitä allows air travelers to bring their own alcoholic beverages into airports and onto their flights. The glass bottles packaged in the water resistant, transparent, durable bags meet TSA Homeland Security regulations. Her kits provide significant cost savings and hassle-free air travel for the consumer many times over. Visit www.whineware.com/ for more information.

Click on the link below for the complete news release.

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Doctor’s product takes top prize in EIGERlab FastPitch competition

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

ROCKFORD — Trevor Gibbs has found a cure for the cluttered, cramped workspaces he and other anesthesiologists experience at work.

His product Anestand keeps cords, hoses, and other loose items near the operating table off the ground, organized and sanitary.

“It organizes the workspace,” said Gibbs, who works at Edward Hospital in Naperville. “We’re often working in very tight quarters.”

Gibbs’ invention took home the $5,000 first-place prize tonight at the 11th annual Northern Illinois University EIGERlab FastPitch Competition. He said he’ll use the money to obtain patenting paperwork and eventually find a manufacturer in either the Rockford or Chicago area.

Click here for the complete article.

Rockford’s EIGERlab hosts Fast Pitch competition

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

ROCKFORD (WREX) –

Three minutes…
That’s how much time entrepreneurs had to pitch their ideas to judges at the Fastpitch competition Wednesday night. 

It’s the 11th one hosted by NIU’s EIGERlab in Rockford.  30 entrepreneurs presented their inventions.  either products or services.  The winner gets a $5,000 prize.  

Click here for the complete article and photo.

Doctor’s product takes top prize in EIGERlab FastPitch competition

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

ROCKFORD — Trevor Gibbs has found a cure for the cluttered, cramped workspaces he and other anesthesiologists experience at work.

His product Anestand keeps cords, hoses and other loose items near the operating table off the ground, organized and sanitary.

“It organizes the workspace,” said Gibbs, who works at Edward Hospital in Naperville. “We’re often working in very tight quarters.”

Gibbs’ invention took home the $5,000 first-place prize tonight at the 11th annual Northern Illinois University EIGERlab FastPitch Competition. He said he’ll use the money to obtain patenting paperwork and eventually find a manufacturer in either the Rockford or Chicago area.

More than 30 entrepreneurs, inventors and business professionals from four states pitched their products — and their ambitions — to a panel of judges during the competition, which took place at the Rockford NIU campus.

Over the years, EIGERlab — a business and innovator incubator — has supported local inventions that have made their way to the national spotlight on “Shark Tank,” “Good Morning America” and the Home Shopping Network.

“It’s a safe environment for them to test their products in front of the public and network with people,” said Sherry Pritz Enderle, marketing and events coordinator for EIGERlab.

Jared Larson, of Avalon, Wisconsin, took home second place and $1,000 for GunkStick, a device that gets cottonwood, slime and other debris off a fisherman’s line. Elisabeth Stecki of Chicago took third place and $500 for WhineWare, a TSA-approved kit that allows you to bring your own alcoholic beverages on your flight…

Click here for the complete article and photos.

 

Inventor of medical stand takes top prize at FastPitch Competition

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

ROCKFORD (WREX) –

Three minutes…

That’s how much time entrepreneurs get to pitch their ideas to judges at the FastPitch Competition Wednesday.

It’s the 11th one hosted by NIU’s EIGERlab in Rockford.  

Thirty entrepreneurs presented their inventions, either products or services.  

The winner gets a $5,000 prize.  

This year’s winner is Trevor Gibbs.  He invented a stand that holds supplies for an anesthesiologist.  

Now he’ll get to work with the EIGERlab on getting his product out there.

“We market for the people long after the competition is over,” said Sherry Pritz Enderle, the marketing and events coordinator at the EIGERlab.  “Anytime they have a home run we’re happy to share that in our newsletter and through our social media.”

Even if the others didn’t come out on top, organizers said by pitching their ideas to a crowd, many still get advice, business partners even investors out of participating.

Click here for the article and photo.

It’s “Shark Tank,” Without the Bite, and You Are Invited! Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara will cap off a day of business pitches October 4

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Rockford, Ill. — From simple, “I should have thought of that” ideas to unique products and services, NIU EIGERlab’s FastPitch Competition has once again attracted 30+ eager presenters who will vie for over $7,500 dollars in prizes, networking and mentoring opportunities, exposure, and possible connections with investors who can finance the deal!

This year’s FastPitch will be held Wednesday, October 4, at NIU-Rockford, 8500 East State Street. The public is welcome to join the “pitchers” starting at 5 p.m. Final presentations, and the keynote address begins at 6 p.m.

Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara will provide insights on his experience as both an entrepreneur and elected official. He’s excited to speak at this year’s FastPitch to welcome and inspire entrepreneurs to build or expand their businesses within the region.

Click on the link below for the complete news release.

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