Entrepreneurs with product ideas can now develop their own prototype in a “makerspace”
Incubation space with all the equipment can be less expensive and prototypes are now easier to make.
Most of us have heard about business incubators, which are generally a small warehouse space with an attached office. The office is a shared resource with a photocopier, fax machine and perhaps with a common receptionist or even administrative personnel. The warehouse space is where business can “incubate” their product idea in a low-cost environment. While this is a good way to get your product idea off the ground, there is a better way!
A new type of incubator is called a “makerspace.” In this type of incubator, all of the equipment is provided for you: CNC routers, laser or plasma cutters, welders, woodworking tools, 3D printers, powerful computers, hand tools, vises, etc. You simply pay a nominal monthly fee for the use of this space and all of the equipment.
A makerspace allows entrepreneurs to begin making products in a low overhead environment. Small production runs can take place until the business is profitable. The production can then be moved and scaled up because the process has been honed and perfected in a low cost, low risk environment. Makerspaces are a good way to incubate your new business idea. You can find a makerspace near you by reviewing this website.
Makerspaces are kind of like a gym with all sorts of tools and equipment. The membership fee is monthly; however, typically there is no long-term contract. Makerspaces are equipped for regular people and entrepreneurs who have a product idea. Come to the makerspace and try out your idea. You can build it, weld it, cut it, shape it, code it, solder it or whatever else you need to do to raw materials to create a prototype. You can even have your physical product printed on a 3D printer. Most importantly, makerspaces are a built around collaboration.
Makerspaces are open to most everyone who has a product idea. The open floor plan of a typical makerspace encourages collaboration. Others using the same space to make their own product will see what you’re doing, and perhaps offer suggestions on how to improve your product, or how to reduce its cost, or how to make improvements. According to a Michigan State University Extension educator, it is really a good place to make your own prototype.
Entrepreneurs who purchase a membership at a makerspace have no start-up costs beyond the cost of raw materials. All of the equipment is supplied, all of the tools are on site and all of the utilities are provided. It is a place where you can express your ideas in a physical form for concept testing and market testing. You can refine your concept many times at a low cost of a membership. Makerspaces can assist you to scale up your business.