Plans are cooking for a new business incubator which would bring the promise of development and growth to Will County area startups.
Through a partnership between the Des Plaines River Valley Enterprise Zone and Lewis University in Romeoville, the proposed Regional Alliance Business Incubator would be housed on the Lewis University campus and would tap the resources of the college and local business support organizations.
Sinclair will lead the Chicago-based company's software organization, a new enterprise created to accelerate software innovation for public safety and commercial customers. He will lead a team focused on development, sales and delivery of software that provides critical intelligence to public safety and commercial users.
Sinclair spent the last 15 years working with Skype and Microsoft's Skype for Business.
"This is a significant step in our march to becoming a more software-centric company," said Motorola Solutions Chairman and CEO Greg Brown.
• Zebra Technologies Corp. made its presence well known at the recent 2017 World Retail Congress held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates this month.
In addition to being a corporate sponsor for the event, the Lincolnshire-based tech company's Ravi Kanniganti and Mark Thomson discussed how real-time operational visibility gives an edge to forward-thinking retail teams during a presentation entitled "Megatrends Unite: the Creation of the Intelligent Retail Enterprise and its Impact on the Customer Experience and Business Growth."
Zebra's most recent product allow retailers to capitalize on three key technology megatrends -- the Internet of Things, mobility, and cloud computing -- to create an intelligent retail enterprise, enabling retailers to outperform their competition, elevate the customer experience and strengthen their operations to win in the new retail reality.
• Panduit Corp. was a participant at the Optical Networking and Communication Conference and Exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center last month.
The Tinley Park-based company's research manager Dr. Jose Castro contributed two presentations that summarize recent advancements made in the field of data center communications. Panduit also demonstrated some of its latest fiber optics communications products.
"Enabled by our world-class fiber optics laboratory, these studies connect fundamental principles to the most important factors limiting the reaches of the highest performance multimode fiber communication systems," said Andy Stroede, senior vice president and managing director of Panduit research and development.
The proposed incubator would join a few others that have sprouted up in the suburbs over the past few years, like the Rev3 Innovation Center in Naperville and the Elgin Technology Center. But the approach the Will County group is taking differs somewhat from how they others are focused, according to Kristin Burton, director of the Lowell Stahl Center for Entrepreneurship and Real Estate at Lewis University.
Where most other incubators are targeting the suburban technology or manufacturing industries, Burton said they will study the local business landscape first to see where interests and opportunities lie. That will be done through a feasibility study, which is expected to start this month and be handled by a third party.
"We have light manufacturing all the way down to the hair dressers, so there's a plethora of different businesses that are in the Will County area," said Burton, who is coordinating the incubator project. "The feasibility study will look at all of those -- what is there now, what are the opportunities -- and help us form who we are going to attract and go after."
Another difference is that the incubator will focus on "graduating" new businesses through a structured two-year training and mentoring program.
"It's not going to be a space where I go into my office and shut the door and work on my business," Burton said. "We're going to have a full program with an assigned mentor, a series of workshops, and milestones that each entrepreneur will have to reach before they graduate."
To do that, the incubator will tap into Lewis University's faculty and student base, as well as resources from its various schools and the Entrepreneur Center, to provide the training and tools for startups.
"The university has a lot of good resources that an entrepreneur may be able to take advantage of," Burton said. "For example, if a company needs to use lab space, can work with the labs in our School of Arts and Sciences. We also have a video production studio on campus and students or faculty can help create videos for their websites."
In addition, Burton said she has worked with organizations like Fox Valley SCORE and the College of DuPage's Small Business Development Center, which can also provide help or support.
The incubator, once established, will be housed at Lewis' Fitzpatrick House, which has been converted into an office building,
The initial plans is to accept five new businesses into the program that would operate out of the facility until they graduate out in two years, with the hopes they would locate in the enterprise zone communities, which include Romeoville, Joliet, Rockdale, Lockport and Will County.
And while the incubator will limit itself to five business, Burton said they door was open to allow select entrepreneurs to "virtually" be a part of the program.
"If you're further away and can't get in every day, we still want to be able to serve that company," she said.
Burton hopes that the first entrepreneurs will be on board by September. Local businesspeople who have an interest in the incubator should contact Burton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.