The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce has announced new services to support entrepreneurs and existing businesses by connecting them to the resources, mentoring, talent and funding they need to succeed.|
The chamber is offering several programs previously run by the Midwest Intellectual Property Management Institute, which merged with the chamber in March.
New programs and services for entrepreneurs
-Patent and Intellectual Property Guidance. Chamber Innovation Services staff and industry experts are available to help identify sources of revenue for product development and testing, provide patent and intellectual property guidance, and evaluate and license new technologies.
"We have access to market-ready patents from major corporations like Deere & Co. and KONE Corp.," chamber CEO Tara Barney said. "On a case-by-case basis, these companies will evaluate licensing their patents to non-competing organizations to develop new products or improve their operations."
- Critical Talent Network. It connects companies with highly specialized, experienced professionals who will analyze business growth opportunities and challenges. Former IP Institute Talent Pool director Julie Forsythe heads the chamber's efforts.
"The chamber conducts outreach visits with hundreds of companies each year and often uncovers stumbling blocks that are preventing businesses from growing to the next level," Ms. Forsythe said. "With the Critical Talent Network, we have the ability to deploy experienced, executive talent to a business to problem solve, develop new products or streamline their operations."
The chamber will market and administer the Quad City Community Development Co., a consortium of local banks that offers gap financing in the form of seed capital and loans to start-up and growing businesses.
-Innovate Quad Cities Entrepreneurial Forum. Innovate Quad Cities, or iQ, is a virtual space where small business owners, start-ups, entrepreneurs and inventors can collaborate, find local mentors, share experiences and advice, and pitch ideas to potential investors.
"iQ will create a space where entrepreneurs can connect 24/7 from anywhere in the world, whether that entrepreneur is an individual still in the concept phase or a small business owner who is entrepreneurially minded," Ms. Barney said. "We think this will go a long way toward fostering a culture where people are inclined to take risks, knowing that there's a support system in place." .
iQ is expected to be up and running within about 90 days.
Organizations such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Small Business Development Centers and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers already offer an array of services to small and start-up businesses. These organizations work closely with the chamber and act as a referral network for one another with small businesses.
"Sometimes the chamber will be the organization providing direct assistance, and other times we will direct clients to one of our partners," Ms. Barney said.
These programs will complement the chamber's other business development programs, including Business Information for Growth; market research databases such as Hoovers Plus, Acculeads and Plunkett Research; a Business Resource Guide with information on services to assist companies and start-ups; the Chance to Meet program to connect companies as part of the vendor list and supply chain of larger companies; and business networking opportunities such as Morning Network and Executives Club.
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