Innovate Marquette’s new Protolab could be a game changer for small businesses
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Innovate Marquette staff says that its newest piece of technology could be a game changer for small businesses.
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, Innovate Marquette’s new protolab located in the basement of its building on West Washington Street is now open for business. CEO for Innovate Marquette SmartZone and Executive Director for Invent@NMU Joe Thiel said the seven hundred-thousand-dollar Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant let the company start the lab.
“What that allows for is for 2D images to be turned into 3D models, so entrepreneurs can get their hands on their products quickly and look for any ways that might be not quite right for the market or maybe some problems with the product and get that hands-on stuff done,” Thiel said.
Thiel said Marquette is one of three communities in the country to receive the rise grant. Thiel added that the lab will be innovating around its electric scooters and bikes, something he hopes is inspirational to students.
“When you see those youngsters come in here and they see this stuff and they are like wow this is really cool because it’s a whole new emerging industry around EV and around electrification and around this outdoor recreation industry and we have been very blessed with a lot of partners to help us get to this stage,” Thiel said.
Innovate Marquette’s Design Coordinator Eric Prue said the three thousand square foot lab now serves as a critical resource to its clients.
“After a client shows or tells us about a project design, We are then able to make a somewhat working concept model,” Prue said. “Which is a real physical model you can hold and then once we get it to a certain point the client is able to use it as a marketing aspect and sell it to titans of industry or companies in the industry.”
Thiel said the main goal is to make innovative Marquette a state entity.
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