People, Land and Community

Archive for December, 2010

Business Incubator Programs

I have been waiting for the economy to jumpstart itself and nothing significant so far to report. How about you? Maybe you and I need to get out the jumper cables and do it ourselves! That is jumpstart at least our local economy. The German writer and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was quoted as saying:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

Here is my idea – create a business incubator. OK, I don’t claim to have been the first to come up with this idea nor do I know who did but it is needed now more than ever.

Six areas to consider when developing business incubator programs in our communities:

  1. Partners – Partner with companies, organizations and governments in your community, region, state and nationally until you have the breadth and depth for success. It can grow organically – begin it now!
  2. Meeting space – Non-profits (Churches, Synagogues, schools, etc..) all have space they could lend for meetings, counseling or to hold classes. Maybe you or a client would be interested in lending a conference room or other space.
  3. Start-up capitalPrivate, State and Federal grants are available for green initiatives and others business ideas. Venture capital groups are interested in funding start-ups. I would also consider both traditional loans (SBA and local banks) and micro loans as businesses begin to emerge.
  4. Incubator space – Vacant space can be turned into temporary office, research, retail, manufacturing or warehouse space for small start-ups. Ideally they should be grouped together for taking advantage of synergies. There are companies who make a business out of providing space and services such as Office Suites Plus. The goal here would be to provide the space and resources necessary for economic growth and not for personal gain. Seek partners to put up monies or share in the expenses for configuring vacant space, basic services such as utilities and internet, insurances, etc… Convince local government to partner also. Let it be a community effort.
  5. Resources – Seek out local organizations who have people willing to donate their time and talent to help others start a business, have influence to make things happen and who can provide knowledge and information. Here is the short list: the local Economic Development Council, your town or city mayor, Jaycees, Rotary International Club, Chamber of Commerce, local colleges (Kutztown University’s Small Business Development Center, Rensselaer Incubation Program), US Small Business Administration, professional groups and local business groups.
  6. Free Tools – Yes and don’t forget all the free resources such as Social Media for networking and marketing (Blogging with WordPress…, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, …), Google (maps, analytics, reader, email and more), Yahoo (email, reader, etc.), Hubspot Software’s marketing resources (free SEO and Social Media training, website grader, etc.), Open Office software, Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer and so much more!

I hope this post was helpful and please add comments to it with your own ideas and resource links!

 

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