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Harrisburg's new Community Innovation Center opens Friday

Posted on 6/21/2017, 1:00 AM

HARRISBURG -- University of Illinois Extension will open a Community Innovation Center in Harrisburg on Friday, a one-stop shop for small business owners to get the help they need.

The CIC is designed to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge and tools to take a concept from the idea phase all the way to a completed prototype.

The center will celebrate its grand opening at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 23, at 1003 N. Main St.

Everyone is encouraged to stop in during operational hours and check out what the center has to offer.

"Startup accelerators or business incubators are not new, but this is different," said Ronald Duncan, Extension educator and CIC director.

"It is designed to work with people who want to explore the development of a product design or test an idea before launching out on their own."

The CIC combines state-of-the-art tools and equipment, such as 3-D printers, modeling and design software, and computer-controlled wood and metal shaping equipment, within an environment that is open to the public.

"Very few communities have access to this type of equipment and leaning environment," said Connie Beck, Saline County Extension director. "It is rare for a town the size of Harrisburg to have this type of opportunity.

"It points to the benefit that can come from educational institutions, local governments and private entities working together to make things happen."

Duncan said working cooperatively with area agencies is what will make the CIC work.

"Key to our success has been the partnerships we have developed, especially the one with ITG3D," Duncan said.

ITG3D is a local, nonprofit organization dedicated to the training and education of the community in new and developing technologies.