Protolab: Marquette’s Game-Changing Innovation for Small Businesses



Innovate Marquette has opened a new protolab, funded by a $700,000 Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant. The lab will help entrepreneurs create 3D models of their products, focusing on the innovation of electric scooters and bikes. The 3,000 square foot lab is equipped with technology that can convert 2D images into 3D models, enabling clients to make tangible prototypes of their concepts.

Innovate Marquette’s Game-Changing Tech for Small Businesses

With its newest technology, Innovate Marquette could be a game changer for small businesses. After the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony, the new protolab in the basement of its building is open for business.

Thanks to the seven hundred-thousand-dollar Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant, the lab was established, according to Innovate Marquette CEO Joe Thiel. The grant facilitates the conversion of 2D images into 3D models, enabling entrepreneurs to efficiently prototype and refine their products.

Marquette is one of only three communities in America to receive the RISE grant. Thiel emphasized that the lab’s focus on electric scooters and bikes will inspire young inventors.

“Seeing youngsters get excited about this emerging industry around EV, electrification, and outdoor recreation is truly inspiring,” Thiel said, acknowledging the partnerships that have helped reach this stage.

Eric Prue, Innovate Marquette’s Design Coordinator, asserts that the 3,000 square foot lab is now a crucial resource for its clients.

“Once we conceptualize a client’s project design into a tangible model, they can leverage it for marketing and attracting industry leaders,” Prue explained.

Thiel’s primary aim is to solidify Innovate Marquette’s status as a state entity.

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