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TechShop, Inc., the world's first and largest network of open access makerspaces, today announced that it is committing to help launch 10,000 new startup businesses by 2022. The initiative will leverage TechShop's 7,500 members and multiple locations in the United States in addition to an ecosystem of supporting companies and institutions interested in helping entrepreneurs launch their companies.
TechShop launched this effort to help small, maker-driven hardware and embedded electronics startups negotiate the challenging transition from the early prototype stage through design and manufacturing as few as 100 units.
The first partner to formally pledge support for this initiative is Flex, the leading sketch-to-scale solutions company that designs and builds intelligent products for a connected world. With approximately 200,000 professionals in 30 countries and a promise to help the world Live Smarter™, Flex provides design, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain insight and logistics for companies of all sizes in various industries.
Startup firms less than one year old account for 60 percent of new jobs in the U.S., and more than half of these jobs are from firms with fewer than 10 employees. Thus, the growing maker movement has the potential to translate thousands of innovative new ideas born out of America's garages into millions of new jobs.
TechShop's mission is to democratize access to the tools of innovation by providing makers with low-cost access to world-class design tools and equipment, training and collaborative workspaces. However, "a virtual minefield of challenges still exists for innovative maker entrepreneurs trying to scale from early stage prototype to manufacturing runs of 100 or more units," said Mark Hatch, co-founder and CEO of TechShop. "A major priority for us is to work with our members to help them negotiate the complexities of manufacturing and overcome these obstacles."
Flex, a global leader in sketch-to-scale services and solutions -- from concept to commercialization -- has been exploring strategies to address the needs of emerging hardware entrepreneurs at a scale that works for the growing wave of independent entrepreneurial makers. By partnering with Flex, TechShop will now be able to offer a fullsketch-to-scale path to commercialization for TechShop members.
Mike Dennison, president of the Consumer Technologies Group at Flex, said, "We are looking forward to working with TechShop to make world-class design and manufacturing services available to the early stage innovator with a proven prototype, but little background in manufacturing. We have the opportunity to truly fuel the birth of new product lines, companies and jobs."
About TechShop, Inc.
Founded in October 2006, TechShop is a membership-based, do-it-yourself (DIY) workshop and fabrication studio that provides access to a vibrant community of creative makers, millions of dollars' worth of facilities, equipment, tools and software in each location. Based in San Jose, Calif., with locations globally, TechShop offers classes, workshops, instruction and training for people of all ages and skill levels to build whatever they can dream.