- What is IF Windsor-Essex?
- What do you mean by an “entrepreneurial ecosystem”?
- What is the IF Centre?
- Why does Windsor-Essex need this?
- Why is the IF Centre different than other maker space facilities?
- What kind of facilities and equipment will The IF Centre have?
- Who can use the IF Centre?
- Is there a fee for using the facility?
- When will the IF Centre open?
- What other things will IF Windsor-Essex be doing?
- How can people, businesses and organizations join IF Windsor-Essex or get more information?
IF Windsor-Essex is a not-for-profit organization devoted to cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem that connects education, health, government and business with applied research, education, physical space and the entrepreneurial community in Southwest Ontario.
Our purpose is to facilitate and support the rapid emergence of our region as a nationally-recognized incubator of innovation, solutions and new businesses that build on our strengths and drive the future of commerce.
IF Windsor-Essex acts as a catalyst for the kind of positive, disruptive and visionary change that results from a community-driven creative ecosystem. We foster a culture of collaboration, sharing and innovation in which solutions to problems and opportunities can take root and grow.
IF Windsor-Essex is supported by people like you, corporate sponsorship, and member fees.
In a broad sense, an entrepreneurial ecosystem describes an environment in which entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurial spirit, are encouraged, supported and backed by local business, government, and residents. That said, a truly effective entrepreneurial ecosystem goes beyond that.
In June 2010, the Harvard Business Review published an article by Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice at Babson College, entitled “How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution”. In his article, Isenberg says that “to ignite venture creation and growth, governments need to create an ecosystem that sustains entrepreneurs.” He goes on to describe the environment in which entrepreneurship tends to thrive. Drawing from examples from around the world, Isenberg proposes that entrepreneurs are most successful when they have access to the human, financial and professional resources they need, and operate in an environment in which government policies encourage and safeguard entrepreneurs. This network is described as the “entrepreneurship ecosystem”.
We have a lot of talented, entrepreneurial individuals right here in our region. What they lack is the environment, the connections and the resources that will allow them to thrive. We intend to encourage and cultivate just such an environment.
Makerspace facilities (or “hacker spaces”) are innovation and development centres that are appearing in communities across North America. Most offer shared work space as well as access to equipment and technology. They are typically not-for-profit, membership-based, and open to the public
The IF Centre is a maker space of a different breed.
First, at over 100,000 square feet, it will be the largest facility of its kind in North America. It will contain cutting-edge laboratory and computer equipment, high-tech food processing equipment, and high-tech manufacturing and production equipment typically found only in private sector business or large government institutions. In this respect, it goes far beyond most maker space facilities.
Second, The IF Centre involves entrepreneurs, businesses, education and government in a collaborative and open environment of connecting, sharing and creating. It welcomes all participants, embracing openness and transparency, and celebrating mutual success.
Finally, and perhaps of the greatest importance, the IF Centre is all about making things. It’s isn’t a think-tank or an R&D centre (although a lot of experimenting, testing and development will take place). It isn’t just about the theoretical (although many theories will be put to the test). And it isn’t just about shared facilities (although it will offer those). The IF Centre is a hub for creativity, innovation, collaboration – and for making things. From modelling to prototypes to samples – even to small production runs – The If Centre is about taking ideas, bringing them to life and creating real products that solve real-world problems.
IF Windsor-Essex is built on the belief that successful small business is a force for good, for the individual and for our community. Our mission is to facilitate that success at the IF Centre.
Economic studies from around the globe consistently link entrepreneurship – particularly of the fast-growth variety – with rapid job creation, GDP growth, and long-term productivity increases. Our region has many organizations involved in job creation on a larger scale (attracting new business investment, helping existing businesses to grow). What we lack is a region-wide focus on nurturing and supporting entrepreneurs, particularly those whose focus is creating new businesses based on innovation and new products. IF Windsor-Essex will cultivate an environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive, new ideas can take root, and new businesses can emerge and grow.
The IF Centre will be a maker space of a different breed. First, at over 100,000 square feet, it will be the largest facility of its kind in North America. It will contain cutting-edge laboratory and computer equipment, high-tech food processing equipment, and high-tech manufacturing and production equipment typically found only in private sector business or large government institutions. In this respect, it goes far beyond what most maker space facilities have to offer.
Second, The IF Centre will bring together entrepreneurs, businesses, education and government in a collaborative and open environment of connecting, sharing and creating. We welcome all participants, we embrace openness and transparency, and we celebrate mutual success.
Finally, and perhaps of the greatest importance, the IF Centre is all about making things. It’s isn’t a just think-tank or an R&D centre (although a lot of experimenting, testing and development will take place). It isn’t just about the theoretical (although many theories will be put to the test). And it isn’t just about shared facilities (although it will offer an abundance of those). The IF Centre is a hub for creativity, innovation, collaboration – and for making things. From modelling to prototypes to samples – even to small production runs – The If Centre is about taking ideas, bringing them to life and creating real-world products that solve real-world problems.
The IF Centre will offer a wide range of technology and equipment and the appropriate space and facilities for members to innovate and create. It will feature over 100,000 square feet of office space, meeting/conference space, common areas, and recreation areas. It will have several wet labs, a machining/manufacturing space, a woodworking/carpentry space, a textiles workspace, a computer centre, and a large food lab and food processing space.
Equipment will include:
- Laser Cutters
- CNC Milling Machines
- 3D Printers, composite, metal, food, small to commercial and small production.
- 3D Scanners
- Vacuum Forming Systems
- Morgan Industries Injection Molding Systems
- Industrial Sewing Machines
- Computer Controlled Embroidery Sewing Machines
- Computer-Controlled Vinyl Cutter
- Large Format Printers.
- Finishing Systems
- CNC and handheld Plasma Cutters
- Sheet metal equipment
- Metal cutting, milling and lathes
- Electronics Testing and Soldering Equipment
- ShopBot 4’ x 8’ CNC milling System
- Wood cutting, miling and lathes.
- Granite Surface Plate with Digital Height Gauges
- Machine Shop Accessories and Tooling
- Computer Workstations with 2D and 3D Design Software
- Software, Hardware and Robotics Lab
- Distributed Hand Tool Stations Small hand tools tool crib.
- Member Storage Rental
- Private Studio / Office Rental
- Meeting Rooms with Video Conferencing.
- Comfortable HackerSpace Areas with Power and WiFi
- Commercial kitchen Food packaging
- Food Computing
- Wetlab space
The IF Centre if open to everyone – individual entrepreneurs, private business, schools, public services, and municipalities. Our goal is to engage the entire Southwest Ontario region in a new culture of collaboration and innovation. We want people, businesses and educators to work together, to share their ideas, to invent new things. We want them to test, experiment, and produce. Ultimately, as a result of that collaboration and experimenting, new products and new businesses will emerge.
There is no per-use fee for using the IF Centre. However, there is a small annual fee to join. Membership fees will range from $360 to $7,200 annually, depending on the type and level of membership.
The IF Centre is scheduled to open in 2017. Phase I will include shared office and administration space, most of the common areas, and the core maker-space production & manufacturing areas. This will include high-tech machining, wood working, textiles, the design shop, the finishing area and food computing Phase II – which will include the Wet Labs, the hot areas, the computer/robotics area. Phase III which includes, the commercial kitchen the food processing line, and the Café, and the balance of the common area amenities – is currently scheduled to open in 2018. All areas will open and receive more equipment as membership and fundraising allows.
The IF Centre will be our largest and most prominent undertaking However, a big part of nurturing an entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem is engaging people across the region, and bringing them together in a spirit of collaboration and innovation. To this end, we will be hosting weekly online chat sessions, as well as ongoing seminars and training sessions (both online and in person). Our website provides opportunities for both members and the general public to connect and discuss areas of mutual interest.
We will also host quarterly events and annual conferences at which entrepreneurs can visit the IF Centre, member companies can display their projects and their products, and where our members can meet with members of maker spaces/innovation centres from other areas to interact and exchange ideas.
There are a number of ways to get involved and support IF Windsor-Essex.
Memberships are available for both individuals and organizations. We are looking for entrepreneurs and businesses who want to connect with like-minded individuals, collaborate on projects, share skills and ideas, experiment, test and create new and innovative products.
We are looking for corporate sponsors who will lend support, both financially and through in-kind donations of equipment, technology, talent, and other resources.
We are looking for volunteers to help build out the IF Centre, to assist with events, and to provide administrative, technical and marketing support.
To get involved, show your support or get more information, visit us online at ifwe.ca.