De La Vega Innovation Lab for Students

For students, the De La Vega Innovation Lab provides the resources you need to take your idea from ideation to implementation. With support for all industries or initiatives, you can innovate in business, tech, engineering, sustainability, nonprofits, the fine arts and more.

The lab is equipped with a 3-D printer, Cricut vinyl cutter, rolling white boards, conferencing technologies, and moveable seating and tables.

Sign up for email communications from the De La Vega Innovation Lab.

The De La Vega Innovation Lab is open to NIU students, staff and faculty at select times each week. During open lab, utilize our technology, like our 3D printer, Cricut vinyl vutter or conferencing technologies. Meet new students, work on your homework and projects, or simply enjoy the space!

Spring 2024 Hours

1-5 p.m.

Launchpad Studio

The Launchpad Studio is an extension of the De La Vega Innovation Lab’s open lab hours where you can find individual support in your entrepreneurial or innovative pursuits.

An NIU staff member can connect you to a mentor, help you access a needed resource, or provide guidance in launching you to the next phase in executing your vision.

Launchpad Studio hours are by appointment only. Please email to schedule a consultation.

Students, faculty/staff, alumni and community partners can attend workshops that focus on the key steps in developing an entrepreneurial mindset.

Why should you develop an entrepreneurial mindset? An entrepreneurial mindset isn't just for startups. Employers and society at large need people who are resilient, collaborative, opportunistic and creative. By developing an entrepreneurial mindset, you refine the powerful skills needed to be a leader and innovator.

Develop an entrepreneurial mindset and build new technical skills with workshops like:

  • Prototyping
  • Handling failure
  • Personal branding
  • Digital marketing fundamentals
  • And more

See the events calendar for upcoming workshops in the De La Vega Innovation Lab.

Do you have a request or an idea for a workshop topic? Email

At each Fireside Chat within the De La Vega Innovation Lab, you will hear the perspectives of successful entrepreneurs, industry professionals and alumni. In an interactive discussion led by a moderator, you will gain insights on niche topics that can give you a leg up in your industry. All Fireside Chats allow time for Q&A and networking.

Each spring, the annual De La Vega Pitch Competition invites undergraduate and graduate students from all majors across NIU to pitch an innovative business or non-profit idea to a panel of judges for the chance to win seed funding and prizes.

De La Vega Innovation Pitch Competition

Each fall, the De La Vega Innovation Lab hosts Ideapalooza for students in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology’s senior design program

At Ideapalooza, students participate in creativity challenges and guided workshops to help them understand corporate innovation and tech commercialization. 

Ideapalooza can be tailored to fit other programs on campus in order to expose students to entrepreneurship and innovation. If you are an instructor or student and would like to partner with the De La Vega Innovation Lab to offer an event for your class or program, please email

Are you a student or partner looking for a space to manage your next project or business endeavor? Reserve an office in the PwC Suite within Barsema Hall (in one-hour blocks) for interviews, meetings, project work and more.

No food or drinks (besides water) are allowed in the offices.

Make a reservation

The Business Law Innovation Clinic (BLIC) offers high-quality, transactional legal assistance to NIU students in their pursuit of being a small business owner, or nonprofit organization leader.

Contact Becca Husar, associate director of Innovation and Partnerships, to be connected with the BLIC, at

Legal Representation and Assistance Areas

  • Business formation
  • Business Enterprise Program certification
  • Obtaining 501(c)(3) status
  • Drafting bylaws
  • Reviewing contracts to sell and purchase
  • Advising on corporate recordkeeping
  • General intellectual property issues such as trademark registration


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