Great businesses start with great ideas. But going from idea to prototype is a big step and many startup entrepreneurs lack the tools and expertise to take that leap.
TechAlliance, a not-for-profit technology association of which the Western is a partner, offers services to help start, grow and connect companies in many industries including digital media, the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and clean technology.
Located in the Convergence Centre at Western’s Discovery Park, the new lab is a space where entrepreneurs can develop their minimum viable products – the M, V and P in MVP Lab – by working with designers. The lab is funded through a $157,200 grant (over three years) from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
“The MVP Lab is the ideal stage for when you have a viable product,” said Gitta Kulczycki, Western vice-president (resources and operations) and TechAlliance board member. “This will help businesses grow and contribute to London’s economy. It’s the ability to work, at no-cost, with skilled developers and designers to turn product ideas into a prototype they can take to potential investors, partners or customers.
“Many great ideas never get past the idea stage, and the MVP Lab will ensure that London’s entrepreneurs will be able to grow their new business to that point.”
Kulczycki added it also offers a wonderful new opportunity for Western students and graduates by giving them another valuable resource as they move into their post-graduate career.
To be eligible for the lab’s design services or desk rental, companies must be a tech-based business with less than $100,000 in annual revenues. Companies using the MVP Lab can collaborate with freelance designers and developers to create prototypes or mockups of their product.
“Moving from the idea stage to having a working prototype is a crucial step for any entrepreneur. The MVP Lab is going to make that leap possible for many new London businesses,” said Marilyn Sinclair, TechAlliance president and CEO. “It is a great time to be an entrepreneur because there is just so much support here. We are building such a great support infrastructure here and this (lab) is another piece to that.”