On Wednesday and Thursday, April 20 and 21, “America Makes”, (the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute), the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) and Youngstown State University (YSU) are hosting an innovative technology event called, “Make Youngstown” at the YSU Williamson College of Business Administration (21 N Hazel St). The event will showcase local businesses developing or using advanced technologies that align with the growing “maker movement” throughout the region. There will also be an open panel discussion with local entrepreneurs and “makers” from 1:00 – 2:30 PM on both days. Open to students and the general public, Make Youngstown will allow all audiences to learn more about the existing efforts and business opportunities currently taking place in Youngstown.
Entrepreneurs, tinkerers and businesses are increasingly enabled by the rapid development of advanced tools like 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machining and other technologies and interactive software. These innovative tools are capable of taking a simple idea or drawing and transforming it into viable products at speeds never before seen.
The first Maker Event was hosted by America Makes in 2014 and included Make magazine’s “shoot-out” to stress test the limits of 3D printers for their annual review. The 3-day event included a tour of America Makes, with more than 100 people participating. Rob Gorham, Director of Operations at America Makes noted that, “America Makes believes that Makers of all sizes and shapes are necessary to support the growth of manufacturing in the United States. I can’t think of a better way than to showcase the Youngstown Makers in this fantastic event.”
Advanced technologies to be displayed include 3D printing, 3D scanning, interactive software, virtual reality, hydroponics, and more. Many of the companies involved in Make Youngstown are part of YBI and have entrepreneurs that are YSU alumni. According to Barb Ewing, COO of the YBI, the growing maker movement is a real opportunity for northeast Ohio. “With our history of manufacturing and innovation, making is in our DNA.”
YBI is currently ranked the No. 1 University Affiliated Business Incubator in the North America and has over fifteen years experience of successfully helping business to business software start-ups commercialize their products or services. With the addition of “America Makes” to its campus in 2012, YBI expanded their entrepreneurial support system to include 3D printing (3DP) or Additive Manufacturing (AM) start-up companies. YBI is a member of the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network and is funded in part by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and the Ohio Development Services Agency.
YSU is an urban research institution that has a historical strength in materials science and engineering. YSU colleges STEM, WCBA and CCAC have joined together, and created ‘Launch Lab’ which uses advanced manufacturing techniques in a collaborative and innovative environment. The goal of this collaboration is to bring students together from different fields of study for the purpose of creative innovation, learning and commercializing their ideas. The Make Youngstown event will assist in educating students about the new technologies available
to them, and also the students will see local firms’ business models that drive their success. Betty Jo Licata, Dean of the WCBA, says “We are excited to host this unique event to showcase innovative maker technologies and encourage people to pursue new business opportunities. Our students are learning how businesses can strengthen their competitive position and Make Youngstown will provide them with a valuable up close look at new possibilities”.