FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicagoland Opportunity Zones Consortium to Support mHUB Startups in Navigating Opportunity Zone Benefits
HardTech innovation center mHUB will open a new state-of-the-art facility within an Opportunity Zone at 1623 W. Fulton Street in October 2023, making its startup members eligible for OZ designation
(CHICAGO September 18, 2023) – mHUB was selected for the Chicagoland Opportunity Zones Consortium’s (COZC) technical assistance initiative to provide technical training and resources to startups seeking guidance on how to qualify and grow as a designated Opportunity Zone (OZ) business.
Starting in October 2023, when mHUB moves to 1623 W. Fulton Ave., all mHUB startup and business members become immediately eligible for OZ business recognition and to access capital through Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds (QOZF). Now, the Chicagoland Opportunity Zones Consortium (COZC) has awarded mHUB funding to cover costs associated with developing an OZ-oriented technical assistance initiative to help startups make this transition.
COZC represents 135 opportunity zones located in the City of Chicago and supports their development through matchmaking, technical assistance, and education initiatives. Established in 2019, and housed at the Chicago Community Loan Fund, the Consortium is a collaborative of 30 organizations that facilitates connections between developers, business owners, small business capital resources, and OZ investors.
Funding from COZC will facilitate an Expert-in-Residence, among other resources, that will guide startups interested in opportunity zone designation. mHUB will partner with Taft Law to deliver technical assistance and develop resources for startups. This designation would allow them to attract equity investment via Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds, which have significant tax benefits for investors.
Opportunity Zones are a special economic development program that provides federal tax incentives for investors who invest in businesses located within low-income communities. They are nominated at the state level and designated by the federal government. mHUB startups who qualify as OZ businesses will have access to unprecedented capital that will in turn drive job creation and build wealth in local, historically underinvested communities.
“Funding from COZC will add incredible value to startups in the mHUB ecosystem that are seeking guidance on how to grow and fund their business within an opportunity zone,” said Allison Winstel, Chief of Staff, mHUB. “With the mHUB innovation center situated within an Opportunity Zone well connected to Chicago’s South and West sides, we’re giving hundreds of startups another avenue for fundraising while expanding access to underrepresented founders and business owners.”
mHUB provides its members with private offices and co-working spaces, state-of-the-art prototyping labs, and access to networks of investors, mentors, engineers, and industry partners. It caters to founders commercializing hardtech innovations with physical products in areas such as climate and energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and more.
“mHUB is a world class destination for product developers, and through our Catalyze Initiative we provide granted partnerships, stipends, and micro-grants to help de-risk the initial steps of business ownership for underrepresented founders,” continues Winstel. “We’re thrilled that our new location and support from groups like the COZC will make this bridge stronger and positively reverberate throughout the entire mHUB community.”
To learn more about membership options at mHUB, visit mhubchicago.com/become-a-member. To learn more about the organization’s Catalyze programs, visit mhubchicago.com/catalyze.
mHUB is a leading independent hardtech and manufauring innovation center that exists to convene the entrepreneurial ecosystem around physical product innovation to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive. The mHUB community includes over 500 active and alumni startups and small businesses supported by a deep talent pool of product designers and developers, entrepreneurs, engineers and manufacturers, corporate leaders, industry experts, mentors and investors. mHUB provides a hyper-resourced environment to entrepreneurs with the goal of commercializing new hardtech innovation that will lead to new businesses, intellectual property, investment, revenue, and job creation. Since launching in 2017, the mHUB community has generated more than $1.14B in revenue, launched more than 1,502 products, hired more than 5,193 employees, and raised over $1.49B in capital. The mHUB Product Impact Fund is a $15M venture fund that invests in seed and early-stage physical product companies from around the world who participate in mHUB’s 6-month long, hands-on accelerator programs. To date, mHUB has invested in 36 startups across sustainable manufacturing, climate and energytech and medtech.