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NIU aims to expand entrepreneurship with Rockford EIGERlab acquisition

ROCKFORD — Northern Illinois University has acquired the Rockford-based business incubatorEIGERlab as it aims to expand its offerings to budding entrepreneurs and foster economic growth in the region.

EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave., helps startups and existing businesses develop products, commercialize ideas and learn new skills. It also offers design engineering and rapid prototyping services. NIU’s acquisition, completed near the start of the year, will allow greater links to university resources and expertise, as well as connect EIGERlab client companies to complementary services, said Rena Cotsones, associate vice president of engagement and innovation partnerships for NIU. The university will rebrand the lab as the NIU EIGERlab Innovation Network.

“With this new affiliation with NIU, I really believe that it will be able to evolve to the next level to really connect to the Illinois innovation ecosystem in a new and exciting way that is going to help the region immensely,” Cotsones said.

NIU acquired EIGERlab through a grant from the nonprofit Northern Illinois Research Foundation.

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