I had the pleasure of going to an event on March 14th, 2019. It was an event held by mHUB for their 2 year anniversary. For those of you who are unfamiliar with mHUB, I will do my best to give people an understanding of this organization and how it is integral to the community of Chicago and its future of innovation within the additive manufacturing industry. I will also give some opinions on Chicago as a whole, with me being based in this city.
I have lived in Chicago for most of my life. I believe that Chicago is one of the most interesting places due to how unique it is as a city as well as its individuals. Chicagoans have some of the most interesting and wild combinations of skill sets compared to other major cities. For example, I am a writer for 3DPrint.com, a maker, a community organizer for local nonprofits, a contributing member to an international startup remotely called WikiFactory, and a rapper when I have free time. I have met even more interesting people with such vast backgrounds in this city. There is never a lack of stimulation here.
As a city that wants to pride itself on its citizens and how diverse it is, it is important to have different organizations within the city to build for the future. Chicago is in a time period of transition. We have been historically rooted within a tradition of manufacturing. The job market for industrial jobs is slowing down. So how does one deal with this? Evolution is key to building towards the future. Chicago and mHUB are trying to do this.
mHUB is Chicago’s epicentre for the future of additive manufacturing. It is a place where people can become members and they are granted access to 3D printers of various kinds, as well as a network of people within the additive manufacturing ecosystem of Chicago. It is a space for startup organizations to build products towards the future. Chicago wants to reinvigorate and innovate by bringing into existence a new Industrial Revolution. This can be referred to as the common term Industry 4.0. Leveraging the digital world as well as the product world leads to a new era of technology that is happening globally, Chicago wants to have a large contribution to this.
“mHUB exists to ensure that the Midwestern manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive. We are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing.”
There were a variety of speakers at mHUB’s two year anniversary. Numerous founders of companies in Chicago were there. Various startups and companies were showcasing their talents and showing their products to different people within the Chicago community. These companies are looking to be the future of Chicago’s additive industry. Our current Mayor Rahm Emmanuel spoke, as well as recently elected governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker. They both gave short speeches on the importance of building the economic diversity of Chicago through different organizations such as mHub.
This event is important in terms of the way Chicago is moving in the future. Chicago is a city that is historically focused on blue-collar mindsets, as well as trades and a skilled workforce therefore, is of the utmost importance. It is a midwestern city that has always had these types of ideologies. In order for Chicago to compete, it is attempting to leverage diversity and social innovation centers for technical development such as mHUB, and a variety of other incubator spaces in different industries.
It is important to note that Chicago is at a deficit in some aspects. Chicago is in an interesting dilemma. Many skilled workers are not in Chicago, as their talents may be easily attracted to New York or the Bay Area. Chicago is hard pressed for talent. Chicago is leveraging mHUB as a mainstay for additive manufacturing because they want to have remarkable talent and an appealing and diverse ecosystem for the future.
I believe Chicago is interesting in the sense that it is entrenched in politics. We are trying to build an interesting landscape for innovation within our city similar to areas in California, but we are not necessarily using the same thought processes that are present within California. The question now becomes this: Is mHUB giving people the best resources based on their membership? I believe so based on my few times around there for different talks, and knowing different startup founders who are members of this community. I also believe that it is important to note that the common citizen is not necessarily readily aware of these types of organizations at the moment. I have a variety of friends in the Chicago area who I have introduced to different incubators around the city and they have been shocked to know these things even existed. So I believe that shows an underlying problem of only certain people being able to know about resources that are available to them. Overall I applaud mHUB for its two year anniversary, and I am interested to see how it develops over the next couple of years.
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