Collaborative Philadelphia-based workspace NextFab isn’t just made up of one location, but is actually a regional network of makerspaces and business incubators, where artisans, hardware entrepreneurs, and makers can feel free to come in and work on their latest projects. Membership-based NextFab, founded by Dr. Evan Malone as “NextFab Studio” a decade ago, has three mid-Atlantic locations and offers all the training, capital, tools, and consultants that people need to turn their great ideas into real products and businesses.
The NextFab website reads, “Turn an idea into reality, develop a product or business, and create something you only dared to dream up – all while growing your own skills and finding your passions.”
The community currently boasts over 1,250 members across its Philly and Delaware locations, and encourages everyone from startups and entrepreneurs to enthusiasts and hobbyists to come out and get to work – an easy thing to do when you consider how much NextFab has expanded its offerings over the last ten years.
In addition to classes, support, and special programming, NextFab offers the following departments to its members:
- 2D printing and photography
- 3D printing and scanning
- Design software
- Laser cutting and engraving
Soon, the makerspace network will be celebrating its tenth year in business, and wants to make sure everybody knows about it.
“When I opened our first makerspace at the University City Science Center, in 2009, I was responding to the 2008 economic crisis and the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US. I wanted to help more people to make things for themselves – to feel empowered, to create new art, new products, new businesses. I’m proud of what my colleagues and I have achieved over a decade, but nothing makes me prouder than that thousands of amazing people dare to dream, share their dreams, and make them real at NextFab,” said NextFab’s President Dr. Malone. “Our vision for the next ten years is to ensure that anyone with a passion for positive change, and the grit to see it through, has what they need to bring tangible improvements to the world.”
NextFab has a lot of memorable moments in its past, including opening the 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival with the “Science Carnival After Dark” event right after moving to its South Philly location, the 2014 opening of its second Philadelphia location in Northern Liberties, the launch of its RAPID Hardware Accelerator program, and opening its Wilmington, Delaware location in 2017.
In order to properly commemorate its ten-year anniversary, NextFab will soon be hosting a large-scale street festival in and around its Washington Avenue location in South Philadelphia.
On Saturday, June 15th, NextFab will be celebrating “A Decade Made Better” with an outdoor anniversary celebration, produced by Milk Street Marketing. The festival, which will take place from 2-8 pm that day, will occupy the whole 2000 block of Philadelphia’s Washington Avenue and is free and open to the community. At the anniversary festival, attendees can enjoy live music, interactive activities, local food vendors, and a craft beer garden, which will be provided by Dock Street Brewing Company; the brewery is actually opening its new location a block away later this summer.
NextFab’s members and startup companies will be also be out on display during the event, and attendees can enjoy self-guided tours of the Washington Avenue facility. In addition, people can also register for a special drawing at the event for the chance to win several different prizes – including a free trial membership and the opportunity to participate in a pop-up business pitch competition.