Posted on June 13, 2014 at 6:00 am
by Michelle Booth
Do you have a great idea for a business but don’t know how to go from idea to reality? Welcome to business incubation Spokane style. There are several resources in the area ready to help you get your new company funded and open for business, and several more business resources ready to mentor you to success.
What is business incubation? It is a support process to assist start-up and newly formed companies in succeeding. Success for new businesses means the potential for new jobs, a bigger tax base, improved neighborhoods, and stronger economies. It means fewer empty businesses along Sprague Avenue and Main Street, USA.
Tell me more, you say? I certainly will. Let’s start with Share Space Spokane. This resource, part of Greater Spokane Incorporated and supported by Avista, is located at the Steam Plant Square. Share Space Spokane offers work space, wireless access, conference rooms, access to mentors and advisors for a monthly membership.
The Washington State Small Business Development Center offers a wide array of business resources to help you grow your business and achieve higher profits. WSBDC offers more than 100 online classes in business management, specialists in import/export to answer your questions, and business advisors to work one-on-one with you. The Business Development center is a partnership between the Small Business Administration & Washington State University.
The newest addition to business incubation in the Spokane area is the McKinstry Innovation Center. Opening in 2012, the Innovation Center seeks to attract new businesses focusing on clean technology, life sciences and education fields. McKinstry’s approach is to seek tenants for their building but offer them shared meeting and conference space.
But wait, there is more going on in Spokane! Innovate Washington, a new agency that combines what was Sirti and the Washington Technology Center, labels themselves as “tireless champions for entrepreneurs”. According to their website, Innovate Washington is out to “make Washington the best place to develop innovative ideas and launch innovative companies.”
Our educators are also involved in business incubation. Gonzaga University offers the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. The program’s mission is to create leaders who can combine their passion with entrepreneurial skills. Based on an honor program model, The Hogan Program connects students who are high achievers with the education needed to succeed and the hands-on experience and mentoring that will offer success.
Gonzaga is not alone. Avista, Inc. has partnered with Spokane Valley Tech, SCC Entrepreneurship Center, GSI, and the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce to create the Avista Center for Entrepreneurship. This is an opportunity to take college-level courses while participating in business plan competitions, internships and mentoring experiences.