SOLIDWORKS For Entrepreneurs
Start-ups, Founders, Innovators, Makers … entrepreneurs are known by many names, but, generally, they all have 2 things in common; a passion and driving force for their vision that rivals just about anything found in the natural world … and a serious lack of funding. These opposing traits help create the ecosystems we commonly associate with start-up hubs like San Francisco and New York where entrepreneurs and investors gather seeking opportunities. In recent years efforts have been made to push these ecosystems into other geographic areas to expand opportunities for those innovators that may not have the flexibility to pull up stakes and relocate to one of the major start-up hubs.
One such effort was the Southern Start-up Roadtrip; a group of investors, founders, and resource experts who, packed into a bus, traveled to several southern cities in search of start-up ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley. With the help of some local guides, this group sought insight into how these ecosystems form and what makes them successful outside the bright lights of San Fran, New York, and Boston.
THE SOUTHERN START-UP ROADTRIP
It’s at the New Orleans stop on the Southern Start-up Roadtrip that I caught up with Jillian Friot, the Program Manager for the SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs Program. Jillian explained the SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneurs Program was created to assist hardware-based start-ups to access the SOLIDWORKS suite of design, validation and visualization tools at no cost. “We realized a few years ago, due to significant budget constraints,” accessing a high-end design suite like SOLIDWORKS presented a challenge to recent start-ups, and we “started the program to give them access to the SOLIDWORKS design suite for free for 1 year.” This program applies to “any start-up under $1 million in total revenue, $1 million in funding, and under 3 years in business.
I also asked Jillian what she hoped to accomplish during the Southern Start-up Roadtrip. She replied: ‘We realized there are a lot of start-ups in places like San Francisco and Boston that are hardware-based or hardware focused, but there’s a lot of resources in those locations. What we are trying to discover is what are the resources in the south and how can we be more involved to support the manufacturing start-ups in areas outside the major hubs.”
Start-ups face significant challenges from concepting and validation, to funding, manufacturing, and scaling. Part of being successful with the start-up space is utilizing all the tools available to you to make your vision a reality. Have a game-changing concept you wish to bring to market? Contact MLC CAD Systems about applying to the SOLIDWORKS For Entrepreneurs program.
About the author
With over a decade of experience in fields from manufacturing and design to project and product management, Josh Covault, a 2006 Purdue University grad, now helps companies optimize their engineering and manufacturing workflows with innovative tools and strategies.