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The grand opening celebration for SouthWorks MakerLab starts at Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Boulevard, on Wednesday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m.
The ceremony will start with a screening of Maker: The Movie, followed by comments from Mayor Ostenburg, Mollie Dowling, OAI, Inc., Craig Schmidt, Prairie State College, Robert Steiner, District Director, Small Business Administration, Illinois District, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
The event will continue at 6:45 p.m. with an open house at Park Forest MakerLab located at 214 Forest Boulevard in DownTown Park Forest.
The Village in partnership with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) and the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC), recently won a competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a $50,000 grant from the Growth Accelerator Fund. The SBA received 832 applications for this competition nationwide, and only awarded 50 grants, two in Illinois. The goal of the Growth Accelerator Fund is to assist business accelerators with their mission to support start-ups to grow, become commercially viable, and have real and sustained economic impact. The winners are focused in areas where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The initial acquisition of equipment for the Park Forest Maker Space includes two 3D printers, a laser cutter, an electronics lab, and computers and design software. The goal of the Maker Space will be to enable users to create prototypes of new products that can then be marketed for larger production and sale. The Maker Space will also provide a program of courses and workshops that will educate the members about production, marketing, patents, and other key issues involved in the manufacturing process. At this time, the Maker Space is co-located with OAI, Inc., a new DownTown tenant at 214 Forest Boulevard, because staff of OAI will be managing the Maker Space until funds are available to hire staff that can be dedicated to the project.
All are welcome to attend the ceremony and tour of the Park Forest MakerLab. Please RSVP by May 4 by using the registration link below.