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A Manufacturing Grant for Innovative Ideas

Ready to move beyond prototyping and launch your product to market? Our Cool Idea Award grant was created to do just that. We want to partner with people and companies that have inventive, game-changing ideas for new products, and help push those product across the finish line with manufacturing grants and promotional support. The 2021 Cool Idea Award program is looking for projects in the following categories:

  • Education: Student-led innovations (with faculty guidance) at higher learning institutions across the country.
  • Sustainability: Ideas that reduce waste, improve climate, and accelerate environmentally focused initiatives.
  • Charitable Giving: Projects from startups or a nonprofit with a philanthropic mission bettering our world.
  • Science: Medical devices that improve patient quality of life or protect and support nurses, physicians, doctors, surgeons.

What does a Cool Idea Award partner receive?

  • A manufacturing grant that can be used for Protolabs’ injection molding, 3D printing, CNC machining, and sheet metal fabrication services; the grant total is determined by Protolabs on a project-to-project basis.
  • Engineering expertise to help analyze your product’s design for manufacturability.
  • Promotion on our various channels (website, social media, etc.).

How do I know if I am a fit?

We want to partner with a variety of companies and educational institutions that are developing innovative ideas and products that help solve problems. With that, we have a few qualifications: 

  • Your company or educational institution must be based in the United States.
  • Your product should be beyond prototyping and entering a limited production stage with needs that are a fit for our manufacturing capabilities.
  • You have a business plan for the product, providing details on funding, production, distribution, and marketing of the product.

I think my project could be a fit—what’s next?

We would love to hear from you and learn more! Please send an email to Brent Renneke at [email protected] providing the following:

  • A description of your product under development and why it is commercially viable
  • The problem or opportunity it addresses
  • The stage your product is in (e.g., early production)
  • How your product differentiates itself from competitors


Tozuda

Breathe99

Medtech company Breathe99 has developed a new-form face mask that is intended to improve on the standard N95 mask used in most hospitals today. The B2 mask has a new foldable form and flexible interior, creating a tighter seal. It also boasts 99% filtration, and because the frame is reusable, less waste. Especially important during the COVID-19 epidemic, the mask can be made quickly, meeting crisis-level demand from the medical industry and general public. For long-term serviceability, the B2 mask also includes replaceable filters and frame parts that can be sterilized.

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Cool Idea Award Alumni

Over the last decade, teamed with nearly 40 innovative startups to provide manufacturing grants to accelerate their amazing products to market. Take a look at our past winners, which range from med devices to robotics to wearables.
Past Winners