Eigerlab: Building a Sustainable Community

A group of motivated people in our community organized and executed the first local TED event, TEDxRockford, and the program’s theme was “Building a Sustainable Community.” Among the speakers who delivered thought-provoking information was EIGERlab’s (E-L) executive director, Dan Cataldi, who spoke on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Dan shared that E-L’s mission is to support Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization that will ultimately create jobs and wealth within our region. Following are several of the current E-L efforts and services that he discussed:

* Stateline FastPitch Competition, designed to celebrate and support entrepreneurs and inventors of all types have hosted over 300 participants since its inception in 2006

* Majority of the region’s business support programs exist at E-L

* Center for Product Development (C4PD) at E-L assists clients with design, prototyping and analysis of new products including utilizing state of the art, 3D-printing (clients are both inside and outside of our region including seven states and five countries)

C4PD was the focal point of the presentation. It assists a variety of business types, from startup to existing stage, including aerospace, artists, consumer goods products, government, manufacturing and medical. Our art-related efforts recently encompassed the creation of certified/authorized replicas of the Michelangelo Bosseti series for a museum in Florence, Italy. Recent contractual projects have included work for both the White House and Disney. Currently we are working with an entrepreneur who is creating a new type of speaker— disruptive technology! Disruptive technology is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network, displacing an earlier technology.

So in the spirit of TED—What if we dream? What if E-L built a nationwide commercialization center for consumer goods and manufactured products? What if E-L held a national competition and invited 10 targeted finalists to attend a commercialization boot camp? What if we then recruited and invested in the best of the best to develop new regional employers? We are currently in conversations with private investors to develop a seed fund that would support this program—people in the region are beginning to believe.

TEDxRockford videos will be uploaded to the TEDxRockford Facebook page and at www.TEDxRockford.com. Visit www.TED.com to learn more.

Article courtesy of Sherry Pritz, Eigerlab and printed in the January Issue of the Chamber’s Voice paper.