Join us for November’s Innovation Tuesday Meetup

“Are You CEO Material? The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Entrepreneurship”

Join us as four successful entrepreneurs share their successes and diverse challenges. They’ll share the Good, including lifestyle, setting their own hours, and making key decisions that result in the growth of their companies. They’ll share their thoughts on avoiding the Bad, including high rates of failure, lack of capital, and constant self-motivation. And, how they have steered clear of the Ugly including, paying back loans, losing control of the company due to lack of ownership, and nightmarish employees.

Our impressive panel of successful CEOs include:

*Please note that effective September 2017, the Innovation Tuesday fee is now $15.

When: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 | 5:30-7:30 PM

Where: NIU EIGERlab, NIU-Rockford, 8500 E. State St., Rockford

Questions: phone 815.753.2192 or

Register: online via our link

Cost: $10.00; food and drink will be provided


Future Innovation Tuesday Events:

February’s Innovation Tuesday Meetup | The Latest Tools for Manufacturing

February 13 | 5:30 – 7: 30 PM



Past Innovation Tuesday Meetups 

November 2017 | Take a Bite Out of Your Competition!

Tie all of your marketing together with a strategy that will Take a Bite Out of Your Competition! Learn how to get the right message in front of the right audience by creating in-depth customer profiles, using the correct language in your messaging and clarifying your value proposition.

Leah Hoppes and Sean Matthew Whitfield are a husband and wife team and co-founders of Vision Force Marketing. Leah is the author of two books and is on the Board of Directors for the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce. Sean is a business coach who formerly worked for Tony Robbins and is certified in Strategic Intervention and Neuro-Linguistic Programming and has coached people all over the world. Together they run Vision Force Marketing which develops marketing and branding strategies, logos, websites, content writing, social media and digital marketing strategies for companies of all sizes. With each over twenty years of corporate experience, they also teach workshops and corporate training.

October 2017 | The Changing Face of Facebook

Lisa Chatfield, president and owner of Ad Vice Marketing in Rockford, will be presenting “The Changing Face of Facebook: How to stay relevant on an ever-changing social platform.” She’ll cover the basics of Facebook ads and share strategies that will help you to turn your Facebook page into a lead generating machine.

Lisa’s full-service marketing company has helped businesses in various fields including healthcare, insurance, legal services, the restaurant industry, retail, special events, social service agencies, and business to business organizations for over 28 years. 

September 2017 | Developing a Digital Marketing Content Strategy

Today’s consumers increasingly go online to learn more and inform their decision-making process. This session will help you understand how to create a digital marketing strategy that leverages the content of value to your target audience. Also, it will provide you with essential steps for developing an integrated digital marketing strategy across your entire digital marketing presence ranging from your website to social media platforms. Learn how to identify and source content ideas that maximize your resources while attracting new customers and increasing engagement with current clients.

July 2017 | The Amazon Effect: how to market like the world’s biggest online retailer

Millions of companies use digital marketing to reach their potential, current and past clients. Few ever crack the code to making their online efforts work as an effective lead generation and referral source. But Amazon has.

During this short presentation you will discover:

  • What marketing strategy Amazon uses to drive their incredible sales machine.
  • One simple shift in thinking that can transform your approach to marketing.
  • Affordable tools to increase your marketing reach.

June 2017 | Social Media and SEO Strategies

Join us to glean a plethora of information on social media, marketing and search engine optimization from speakers Ron Giordan, Director of Social Media/Public Relations Strategy, and Tom Galante, Business Development Director with Mid-West Family Marketing. They will discuss how digital marketing components need to work together to ensure businesses are found online, products are sold online, and branding is seen online.

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Pinterest, they have experience and up-to-the-minute knowledge of each of these platforms. Both Ron and Tom believe that social media marketing is just one component of an overall marketing and advertising strategy. Please sign up today–this talk was well-attended at previous Rockford Chamber events.

November 2016 | Entrepreneurial Pitfalls: What to avoid! 

Our panel of speakers include three of our former FastPitch Competition presenters:

Stacy McCaskill, Fish With

Brad Marshall, AdsOrTails

Adrian Vasquez, Inventor of the NZ3 Smart Nozzle

October 2016 | Creating YOUR Business Plan

Presented by Brian McIntyre with Thames Management Resources. A business plan is a written description of your business’s future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you’ve written a plan or at least the germ of a plan.

Join us to create a concise plan which includes your value proposition, marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan and staffing plan.

September 2016 | Social Media & SEO Strategies

Join us to glean a plethora of information on social media, marketing and search engine optimization from speakers Ron Giordan, Director of Social Media/Public Relations Strategy, and Tom Galante, Operations Manager of Mid-West Digital Marketing in Madison. They will discuss how digital marketing components need to work together to ensure businesses are found online, products are sold online and branding is seen online.

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Pint

July 2016 | Commercializing Your Product: Where do You Start?

Do you have a great idea for a new or improved product but are unsure where to start? Then join us to discuss moving it forward. We have over a decade of experience assisting both inventors and entrepreneurs with all aspects of Product Development.

June 2016 | QuickBooks Basics to Manage Your Business
Sandy Trotter, Accurate Accounting & Payroll Services

Use QuickBooks software as your accounting solution—secure, scalable and easy to share with your accountant. Sandy Trotter with Accurate Accounting and Payroll will share the essential steps and features for getting started with QuickBooks accounting software.

May 2016 | Show Me the Money: Traditional and Alternative Funding Panel

Would you like to learn about funding your venture or business through traditional bank funding, Crowdfunding such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo or perhaps an Angel investment group? Join us and let our panel of experts share insights into each.

Click on the individual links | Panelist’s bios (coming soon)

*Dan Cataldi, Representing the StateLine Angels

*Mark Horita, The Peakstone Group, Managing Director

*Emily Hurd, successful crowdfunding campaign orchestrator

*Andrew Jury, Rockford Local Development Corporation, loan officer

*Kristin King, Rockford Bank & Trust, VP & Government Guaranteed Lending Specialist

April 2016 | Creating a Website with WordPress | Speaker, Chris Kelley, V2 Marketing Communications

The key is to find the right website building platform for you. In the digital age, having a personal website is the final step in establishing a solid web presence, but there are dozens of sites begging users to pick them. WordPress is something of a heavyweight. The blogging platform has been around since 2003 and has become a go-to for site-building. There are dozens of ways to use it, along with dozens of different clients, from small businesses to web agencies.

Click here for Chris’ slide deck presentation.

Click here to download the free eBook, “WordPress Editor’s Guide: A complete guide to Editors functions in WordPress.”

March 2016 | Circuit Building 101 | Intro to Electronics

One of the key concepts in electronics is the printed circuit board (PCB). At this month’s Meetup, our speaker will discuss the fundamentals of a PCB including: composition; terminology; methods of assembly; and the design process.

Suggested attendees would include: engineers, makers, and individuals interested in both product development and DIY.

Speaker: Jason Duerr, Vice President | Aimtron Design Studio

February 2016 | What is Intellectual Property? When to patent, trademark or copyright.

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. Please learn from our panel of patent attorneys and engineer about the differences and best uses of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Our distinguished panelists included:

  • Jeff Dixon, Patent Attorney, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP | Chicago | Bio
  • Yolanda King, professor, NIU’s College of Law | Bio
  • Matt Mondek, Professional Engineer-holds an MBA, BSME, CPM and five U.S. patents | Wonder Lake | Bio
  • Eric Waltmire, Patent Attorney, Erickson Law Group, PC | Wheaton | Bio

Video – Legal panel (55:48 in length)


A User’s Guide to Patent Services


Patent Services Summary

January 2016 | Marketing 101: Effective Advertising

In order to successfully grow your business, you’ll need to attract and the work to retain a large base of satisfied customers. Jake Bradt, owner of Rockford Buzz and 2015 FastPitch Competition finalist, will share his expertise on inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and permission-based marketing.

Click on the link below for Jake’s “Marketing 101: Effective Advertising” PowerPoint presentation (PDF).

2016_January_Meetup_Marketing 101 Workshop