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  • NORTH FORGE SMARTPARK

    WINNIPEG

    CEO: Joelle Foster

    441 – 100 Innovation Drive
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 6G2• P: 204-262-6400

  • North Forge | East

    PINAWA

    President: Shane Li

    24 Aberdeen Avenue
    Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0 • P: 204-753-5170

  • Fabrication Lab

    WINNIPEG

    Vice-President: Marney Stapley

    125 Adelaide Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 0W4 • P: 204-799-2033

  • North Forge | North

    THE PAS

    University College of the North
    436-7th Street East, The Pas, Manitoba R9A 1M7
    (204) 623-0311

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Startup Spotlight: Phoenixtekworks

One of the greatest benefits of investing in cutting-edge equipment at the Fabrication Lab is the ability for founders to rapidly create and modify prototypes of their products as much as they would like. Using state-of-the-art machinery to make life simple is what advanced manufacturing is all about, and with the help of the North Forge Fabrication Lab, Phoenixtekworks is doing just that. 

Allen Unrau, Founder of Phoenixtekworks, has spent over 25 years in the IT field where he spent much of his time in the basements of various businesses, trying to find the best way to get all of their equipment mounted in an organized fashion. Time and time again, Allen would be called to fix a network that was down, only to realize that one simple cord being unplugged was the culprit. With many businesses turning to cloud-based information systems, Allen noticed that there was currently no easy way to organize the equipment required to run a business network, an opportunity which he chose to pursue by becoming the founder of Phoenixtekworks.

It was decided that the easiest way to combat these network power source struggles would be to create what he calls an RSM board, which is a mounting platform for small network devices. This platform connects to the wall and holds all of the power sources in place, ensuring that it’s highly unlikely for any power source to get unplugged. Gone are the days where a company’s time, money, and resources are wasted due to the fact that the network’s power source was unplugged by an unknown passerby in the IT room. 

Once the product idea was solidified, the next step for Allen was to focus on building a prototype of his product. “I’m a very hands-on type of person,” said Allen. “I strongly prefer being able to do the work myself, rather than outsourcing the work over the internet. I am very excited to be a member of the North Forge Fabrication Lab because it allows me to develop my prototypes quickly while making minor tweaks as I go along. It truly allows for a highly customized prototyping experience, which is something that you just can’t get if you order your prototypes online.” 

The Fabrication Lab’s rapid prototyping equipment allows founders to continuously work on improving their product at any point during the development process, which helps founders keep their focus on continuously improving the product quickly and efficiently. This quick turnover time is critical for founders because it allows them to act quickly on any feedback given in the initial product testing phases. 

However, it’s not just the rapid prototyping equipment that has set this company up for success. Phoenixtekworks has also joined the North Forge Founders Program, where he will receive guidance on taking his prototype from it’s early-stages all the way up to a minimum viable product (MVP). 

“The team at North Forge is quite helpful and ready to help you out with anything you need,” says Allen. “My business has come a long way since I have started working with North Forge. I floundered for about one year because I didn’t have much guidance on what steps I should be taking. North Forge has really helped provide me with the right tools and the right advice to help take my product to market.” 

To learn more about the Fabrication Lab, click here

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