mHUB Receives $778K Grant from U.S. Department of Commerce to Expand Illinois’ Capacity for Clean Energy Innovation
On Tuesday, September 26, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $2.5M in the state of Illinois to support infrastructure improvement and workforce development within the clean energy sector. As part of this investment, mHUB will receive a $778,105 grant.
The funding will be used to expand prototyping equipment, training, and capacity for the development of new clean energy technologies at mHUB. As an innovation center for physical product development, mHUB understands that physical solutions are needed to address the most pressing challenges in our physical world. Over the past two years, mHUB has made a concerted effort to attract and incubate clean tech startups and rally the State’s resources for innovation in climate and energy.
Illinois has long been recognized as a transportation hub, for its leading research institutions, and for a strong manufacturing base. It has one of the most diversified economies in the nation and benefits from a large talent pool. Coupled with efforts throughout the state to build a clean energy economy, there are few reasons why Illinois should not lead in the clean energy revolution.
Important policy achievements such as the Clean Equitable Jobs Act, REV Act, and $400M tax incentive package for cleantech manufacturing, have signaled to the federal government that Illinois is serious in its ability to lead in creating the infrastructure and innovation needed to secure a clean energy future. Organizations across the state, both public and private, came together in 2021 to launch the mHUB led Clean Tech Economy Coalition (CTEC) to double down on the State’s commitments. mHUB’s recent expansion into a new facility on Chicago’s Near North West side, unrelated to the EDA grant, will initiate one of the Coalition’s primary investments.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), part of the Clean Tech Economy Coalition, included a letter of support within mHUB’s grant proposal, acknowledging the expanded resources would bridge critical gaps between emerging market opportunities in clean tech and energy and the region’s unique, deeply rooted assets in research, industry, and innovation.
“Illinois has the basis for a strong emerging clean technology economy, particularly in the energy infrastructure cluster and sub clusters,” said Haven Allen, mHUB chief executive officer. “This investment will complement the greater Chicagoland area’s existing innovation assets while building new capacity within the clean technology space. Thank you to the EDA for its continued support in helping mHUB on its mission to lower barriers for innovators working on the world's biggest challenges.”
Through this grant, mHUB will invest in new equipment and supplies to furnish the wet, electronics, and testing labs, as well as hire additional employees to manage these facilities and provide technical training. This will ensure that startups developing complex technologies in climate and energy will be attracted to Illinois to build, test, and ultimately go to market.
Based on six years of historical data reported from the mHUB member base, this funding will enable mHUB to support an additional 50 businesses over the next 9 years, which are estimated to create 175 direct jobs and support an additional 407 indirect jobs. These businesses are also estimated to generate $80M in revenue, attract $121M in investment capital, and file 55 patents.
Further, through mHUB’s location within an easily accessible Opportunity Zone, its Catalyze Initiative to support underrepresented founders, and its commitment to driving manufacturing-based economic growth, numerous conditions are met to ensure these outcomes are available to and positively impact underserved communities.
Comments from the Economic Development Administration press release issues Tuesday, September 26 are as follows:
- “These EDA investments will support efforts in Illinois to help grow the state’s industrial and clean technology sectors through infrastructure and equipment improvements.” - Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo
- “EDA is pleased to support these efforts in expanding business capacity and enhancing training programs, boosting businesses and promoting opportunities for a diverse workforce.” - Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo
- “From my administration’s landmark Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan to our first-of-its-kind Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, we are transforming Illinois’ infrastructure, all while leading the clean energy revolution.” - Governor JB Pritzker
- “This federal funding represents a strategic investment in our state’s future, one that will bolster our competitiveness on a national and global scale, create quality jobs for our residents, and ensure that Illinois remains a pioneer in the clean energy revolution,” - Senator Dick Durbin
- “Today’s federal investments mean bolstering Illinois’s workforce, improving our infrastructure and further positioning our state as a leader in the clean energy sector.” - Senator Tammy Duckworth
- “Manufacturing is a key component of economic development. Therefore, this $778,000 grant supporting new prototyping equipment will do much to help create new jobs, train workers for clean-tech careers, and generate $15 million in private investment for the Chicagoland community. I congratulate mHUB for its creative work.” - Congressman Danny K. Davis