A $386,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration may give entrepreneurs from northwest Indiana a boost to start and grow their business ideas. A program called “Concept to Commercialization 2020” through Purdue University Northwest is one of 44 programs nationwide to receive the money.

“Our goal is to foster advanced manufacturing related to entrepreneurship and workforce development,” said PNW Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Niaz Latif.

The funding is part of the federal Regional Innovation Strategies Program i6 Challenge. The initiative is designed to support the creation of centers for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Latif, who also serves as Executive Director of PNW’s Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC), said the program is a catalyst for bringing an “innovation economy” to northwest Indiana. PNW says the CMEC facility in Hammond provides equipment and machinery for prototype development and testing.

“The ambitious participants we intend to serve in this program will not only have access to state-of-the-art equipment…but will also tap into Purdue Northwest’s vast resources of intellectual capital, leadership assets and community partnerships.”

Latif says the program will eventually serve participants from across seven counties in northwest Indiana.

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