State to help fund center for medical startups

CHICAGO – Illinois will provide a $2.5 million grant to help open a center for medical technology startups in downtown Chicago, a project officials hope will see the same success as a similar hub for new digital businesses.

The center, which is expected to open later this year, will be a place for entrepreneurs and prospective investors in medical technology to seed new companies, said Dave Roeder, communications director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The facility will offer office space for startups and classes and other events for entrepreneurs and industry professionals. It is modeled after 1871, a Chicago hub for digital startups.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have said 1871 created 800 jobs and attracted nearly $30 million in capital investments in its first year.

The project, which was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, will be a public-private partnership and be run by a not-for-profit organization, Roeder said.

It also will receive a $1 million loan from either the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity or the Illinois Finance Authority.

Roeder said Chicago is seen as an ideal site for such a center because of its access to research institutions and existing medical technology companies.