Innovator of the Week
President of MakeIt Labs
In A Nutshell . . . Tell Us About Your Startup Resource.
We’re what’s known as a makerspace, a place where members can access our work space, equipment, and community to help them with their personal projects or general interests. We enable people to have access to an array of tools they could not access before, all for only a monthly fee.
As a resource for startups, you could say we offer three key things. First, startups can take advantage of our equipment to prototype and refine their ideas. Second, it provides a physical space to work and store current projects. Finally, and perhaps most uniquely, a makerspace such as ours provides exposure to a large community of fellow makers, where people of many different backgrounds share knowledge and expertise. This dynamic of mutually beneficial information sharing oftentimes leads to entirely new ideas for people to take advantage of.
MakeIt Labs is also a kind of place where individuals can come up with an idea of their own, and possibly start their own business. Sometimes it’s as simple as acquiring a skill such as welding or machining that leads people into new careers. Makerspaces like ours provide the space, equipment and community to make all of these things happen.
What niche are you filling?
We’re addressing a common issue some people and startups have when they are trying to begin working on projects, which is that sometimes the tools they want to use are inaccessible to them for various reasons. We are essentially providing a facility that allows people to learn about and use equipment and workspaces they couldn’t easily access before.
We hold regular classes regarding all sorts of topics, including things such as machining, woodworking, welding, auto repair, 3D printing, laser cutting, and plasma cutting to name just a few. We even have art classes such as painting.
Whether it’s machining tools, 3D printers, or an auto lift, we own equipment that our members can take advantage of that are oftentimes prohibitive for individuals to acquire themselves. To the greatest extent we can, we want to provide people with the means to bring their ideas into reality.
Who or what was your best resource in helping your program get off the ground?
Our members. We are very much a community, and 100% volunteer operated. The space has grown and flourished due to the combined efforts of hundreds of dedicated individuals.
Take our new space for example. We just had the grand opening to our new facility during NH Entrepreneurship Week, which Governor Hassan attended. Telling the whole story of our move from our old space to our new facility would be far too large to tell here. Thousands of hours of volunteer labor were put into renovating an old run-down building we first stepped into it last Summer. The City of Nashua played an important role as well, working with us to make sure the project was a success. We essentially took an abandoned building and remade it into something new. It stands as proof of the resilience and health of our organization and of the dedication and passion of our members.
What does the future look like?
Bright! We have room in our newly acquired facility to grow and expand the offerings of our nonprofit. We aim to increase our membership size, expand our class offerings, and reach out to the surrounding region to establish more partnerships. We already host school groups and local organizations such as Positive Street Art and the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, but we want to make even more connections.
We have an exciting project we’re raising capital for, which will turn part of our building into an innovative co-working and incubator space. (You can learn more about this project at our website here. If you’re a NH business and want to be a sponsor of our project, contact us soon, we’d love to have you on board!)
How can people get involved?
Sign up and be a part of our community! Drop by during one our open house nights, which occur every Thursday from 6pm to 9pm. We love to give tours and show off all of the awesome stuff we have to offer. Also, donations of equipment and supplies are welcome as well. If you have any questions concerning how to donate please contact us!
If you’re a NH business, consider donating money to our new incubator project! Our incubator is a special Tax Credit incentivized project (donors receive 75% back in tax credits) supported by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority. If created, it would draw more tech workers and entrepreneurs to start businesses in NH, leading to an increase in the economic development of our State.
You can learn more about us at www.makeitlabs.com and on our Facebook page.