Incubators and Fab Labs
I saved this for the Breakthrough Energy Movement Conference being held in boulder latter this week. I wanted to point out the steps needed to hopefully be able to resource some of the smaller inventors and researchers working on the more exotic technologies. Between 80 billion and 100 billion is being spent annually on energy research, with a large portion on renewables and enabling technologies.
The question is how do we assist free energy researchers and overunity experimenters especially those often working alone, from home or on a small scale?
The answer is Incubators and Fab Labs.
These are starting to appear worldwide and provide a myriad of resources for very minimal cost. Often they are started with seed money form government, entrepreneurs and donations of equipment form industry. They are often staffed with volunteers, retired tradesmen and engineers and have multi million dollar prototyping facilities from 3d printers to full electronic workshops. With little effort they can become test centers for energy devices with qualified staff and equipment. These centers also have many investors behind them nurturing new ideas and projects
To best illustrate the potential of these I will give several examples.
Ramp Up Manitoba :http://www.startupwinnipeg.ca/
Ramp Up Manitoba is part of a coast-to coast community network for entrepreneurs launched with about a dozen other communities. Called Start up Canada Communities, the project will give entrepreneurs a one-stop shop to access mentors, funding, space and support to start and grow their businesses and to connect with other startup founders. In less than a year Ramp Up Manitoba has built a grassroots volunteer-driven community of over 300 people.A do-it-yourself operation — volunteers framed and hung drywall — they’ve built a 10,000 square foot ‘Innovation Hub’ filled with more than $1.5 million in state-of-the-art rapid prototyping equipment with its partner, AssentWorks. It now has start-up co-working office space, and regular events like meet-ups and Ramp Up Weekends.
AssentWorks : http://www.startupwinnipeg.ca/assentworks-3/
Do you have an idea you’d like to build, but don’t have access to the right tools, skills or space? Do you want to be part of a community of people who like to make things? Does your business need access to affordable equipment to build rapid prototypes? Do you want to expand your knowledge of design, prototyping, and manufacturing? Do you want to grow Manitoba innovation and business?AssentWorks is a non-profit workshop dedicated to providing hands-on access to fabrication and prototyping equipment, knowledge, and a community of support for entrepreneurs, inventors, tinkerers, artists, and innovators.We are a 100% volunteer-operated and our passion is to help entrepreneurs, inventors, and makers get their ideas off the ground, to grow business, and to support our community.
We have great equipment and educational services for rapid prototyping, 3D printing, electronics, woodworking, metalworking, vinyl cutting, laser etching, plastics forming, and many other creative disciplines. Our combined passions and expertise often spark opportunities for collaborative projects, mentorship, and skills transfer. We exist to support your creative process and, when we can, your personal and business growth.
Government Sponsored Incubators
Callaghan Innovation NZ : http://www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz/about-us
What we do
Callaghan Innovation accelerates commercialization of innovation by firms in New Zealand.
We have the talent, resources, knowledge and connections to help businesses turn ideas into internationally marketable products and services more quickly and successfully.
We give businesses a single front door to the innovation system, working in partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, economic development agencies, business incubators, universities, polytechnics,CRIs , the venture capital community and industry associations.
We also offer extensive Research and Technical Services (RTS) to businesses in the high-tech manufacturing and services sector through both our world-class facilities and the skills and knowledge of our engineers, technologists, designers and scientists.
- We provide research and technical services to support near-to-market innovation by firms
- We award and administer R&D grants to firms
- We support and coordinate national technology networks in high priority areas of science, engineering, technology and design
- We assist firms to develop skills and expertise to successfully take ideas to market
- We foster a culture of innovation and build excitement about business growth potential among current and future business leaders
Callaghan Innovation has a range of services and support for businesses that, as a new organisation we will continue to build over time. The focus of our services is to encourage and support businesses to turn their ideas into new products and services faster, and to connect them to the skills, resources and funding they need from concept through to commercialisation. This includes:
Research and technical services supporting near-to-market innovation
Our research and technical services help businesses take ideas through to commercialisation – whether it be developing a new product or improving a manufacturing process to make products more competitive. Over time, our focus is on providing:
- Expertise in product development processes and procedures, including project management
- Customised product development assistance to solve specific process or product-related problems
- Expertise on regulations and compliance for different types of products in foreign markets
- Machine shop and workshop facilities to create prototype products and evaluate manufacturing equipment
- Testing and failure analysis services to assess performance issues with products or components
- Pilot plant facilities to help scale up manufacturing, from prototype to production
- Open lab services giving direct access to technical specialists, equipment, services and advice
Connecting businesses to resources and support
We are progressively rolling out tools and programmes to link up New Zealand’s innovation expertise and resources and to help businesses access the support they need. This includes:
- Grants to help make R&D investment affordable for businesses and to support students to work in R&D environments
- Access to technology expertise, whether it is within Callaghan Innovation, the wider New Zealand innovation system, or overseas
- Access to training, including “Better by” programmes run by Callaghan Innovation and NZTE, and the best training programmes at other organisations in New Zealand and internationally
- Access to talent, including helping firms to connect with and recruit the talent they need and to build the pool of talent available, for example through internships, mentoring programmes and curriculum development
- Access to markets, working closely with NZTE to ensure firms can access the knowledge they need about potential markets and competition for their products and services
- Access to capital, including information and advice on sources of capital and pitching to investors
Motivating New Zealanders to innovate more
Part of our role is to create more interest in commercialising our ideas in New Zealand. Our focus is on providing information, support, opportunities and resources for:
- Today’s innovators: entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders – for example, through innovation events and forums, site visits and tours
- Tomorrow’s innovators: young people from primary school through to tertiary institutions – for example, through the internships, sponsorship and career advice
We do this in partnership with others in the innovation and education sectors.
The Next Steps
Its is obvious that these innovative centers would be a perfect home for free energy researchers. Existing ones could be build on, or a new one developed. Many of these have up to 30 or more small start ups working from them sharing resources, equipment and skills.
Many equipment companies provide tools, instrumentation. It does no take much imagination to see how a test lab facility could be easily incorporated and professional volunteers assisting be it welding a metal frame or using an oscilloscope.
May of the VC’s , Investors and entrepreneurs will sponsor projects that are undertaken in these centers as it dramatically lowers risk and investment needed. They know professional will assist and fast track projects. One of the great sorties out of the Canadian workshop is the local university students building components for a satellite as the University can not afford to do so.
I deal with dozens of inventors, assisting them with introductions with people who can help in various ways, but most struggle as they are not always good construction engineers or lack many skills required. Many feel alone and isolated and often just want some like minded people to talk to.
I hope that this GBEM conference will not end just as another talk fest but someone will take the initiative to work with existing incubators or fab labs or initiate one specifically for sustainable energy projects.