Promote and connect businesses with the resources and opportunities that exist at our national laboratories and innovation centers.

The Chicagoland region continues to thrive in the areas of technology and innovation because of Argonne, Fermilab, research institutions like Northwestern and University of Chicago, innovation centers like 1871 and Innovation DuPage, and access to a highly educated workforce and training programs. The economic impact of this is tremendous. For example, Argonne alone continues to be a major catalyst for economic development in DuPage, the Midwest and the United States with an FY20 economic impact to Illinois of $144 million in contracts awarded to entities located in Illinois (57% to small businesses): Partnering with 84 Illinois companies on research projects; and employing 3,421 people who live in Illinois.

In addition, over the past few years, DuPage has seen an influx of new, private innovation centers, especially in the food industry, and is competitively positioned in the food tech industry to capture additional growth. As we look to the future, DuPage and the region are well positioned to be at the forefront of emerging sectors, especially those related to deep tech, that are expanding and gaining greater significance in Illinois because of our locational advantage to talent, National Labs, innovation centers, university and corporate partners.

Key Activities:

  • Market DuPage County and the region as a hub for innovation and R&D and raise awareness for the assets that have created the County’s “innovation ecosystem”. This should include working with Innovation DuPage, GCEP, and other key stakeholders to develop: an “Innovation Asset Map,” “Innovation Tool Kit” to connect businesses with the resources, and general marketing materials that promote, for example, stories about the work at Argonne and Fermilab and their applications in various industry sectors.
  • Encourage collaboration among key innovation stakeholders, such as Argonne, Fermilab, and Innovation DuPage, together with the DuPage business community, to establish valuable connections and provide businesses with comprehensive knowledge, resources, and opportunities for joint innovation partnerships, knowledge sharing, and fostering entrepreneurship. (With a special focus on Advanced Photon Source, Exascale Supercomputer at ANL and the Innovation DuPage Business Incubator Program, Business Accelerator Program, Innovation DuPage Mentor Program & Innovation DuPage Investor Pipeline at Innovation DuPage). Focus should also be placed on the skillsets, education and training needed for innovation and tech-based industries.
  • Create a comprehensive business attraction strategy aimed at identifying businesses and industries that can leverage the advantages of DuPage’s “innovation ecosystem” and devise industry-specific strategies to foster the continued growth of targeted sectors (i.e., food manufacturing).
  • Leverage the collective resources available through the GCEP partnership to identify new opportunities for: regional collaboration between businesses and the key tech and innovation stakeholders; gathering key metrics; and marketing the region’s competitiveness in innovation, R&D, and technology advancements.