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WEST LAFAYETTE — Every vision to create a job of the future could be equal in thought, but it’s the marketplace that plays a critical role whether it works out.
Statewide public and private partnerships have created incubator sites where ideas for future products are in development and are being tested to see what will be successful. Purdue University has what it calls the Purdue Foundry.
Tim Peoples sees the jobs of the future in the present as people run their ideas through the Purdue Foundry.
"People walk in, 'I have a solution to this problem what do I do next?'" Peoples said.
Among the many problem solvers is Heliponix. This mobile greenhouse that allows for the growth of a number of crops including spinach, cilantro and arugula. The technology has helped people in Africa grow vegetables year-round. The Purdue students behind it came to the foundry with questions shared by many innovators.
"Is this a real problem? Are people Really wanting to solve it? Are they really willing to pay to solve that problem and if so how much? And that informs the innovator do I actually have something here," Peoples said.
The Purdue Foundry was set up to focus on "start-ups," develop a business plan for their ideas and collaborate with others as part of that process.
The facility is open to the community, students, graduates, and alumni. Many of the products have the potential of supporting existing jobs or creating new ones. The pitches cover the spectrum from healthcare to national security.
For example, Adranos Inc. developed the ALITEC system that could allow missiles to go farther. It was created by a Purdue grad who received his doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics, and an IU grad with a JD/MBA. Their system could be used by multiple branches of the military.
"We always tell people if we could pick the winners from the losers we would not be here because we would've picked the winners a long time ago," Peoples said. "You can't pick the winners. What we teach them the marketplace will decide whether it's a good idea or a bad idea."
In 2018, Purdue helped with 223 startups that created more than 300 new jobs.
LEARN MORE | Purdue startup milestones