Business Incubator Holding Open House April 4

Photo of the Southeast Innovation Center

The Southeast Missouri State University Business Incubator will hold an open house to give start-up businesses interested in the site an opportunity to tour the facility.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

March 16, 2007 – The Southeast Missouri State University Business Incubator will hold an open house April 4 to give start-up businesses interested in the site an opportunity to tour the facility.

The open house is scheduled for 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. The incubator is opening on the remodeled third floor of the Southeast Innovation Center April 1. The incubator is located at 920 Broadway, part of the former First Baptist Church property. The Innovation Center encourages development of new businesses and technologies.

The public, as well as University faculty and staff, are invited to the open house. Tours of the building will be available, and visitors will be able to tour incubator offices and discuss leasing opportunities. The open house also will feature refreshments and giveaways, and Innovation Center representatives will be on hand to discuss entrepreneurship and starting a small business.

“Those of us who started our own businesses and did not have the opportunity to be near or in an incubator are the quickest to profess their importance,” said Dennis Roedemeier, chief executive officer of the Missouri Research Corporation. “Everything you need to help your business succeed is at your fingertips or down the hall. The reason that incubator businesses succeed is that they can ask questions and receive advice from management and their peers.  Clients are often surprised to find out they do not have a monopoly on problems, and there is more than one way to address a situation.”

Those participating in the open house April 4 who sign a lease for a space in the incubator will receive a five percent discount on their first year’s lease, said Gina Harper with Southeast’s Innovation Center.

The incubator space will offer 12 new office spaces totaling 4,200 square feet. Harper says the spaces in the incubator vary in size and configuration from 80 to 1,100 square feet each.

“An incubator is a facility where a start-up business can be nurtured until it is a viable company and can move out into the business community on its own,” Harper said. “We are here to help the business owner with resources to nurture and grow their business.”

Most start-up businesses remain in an incubator for an average of three years, she said, adding small business that get their start in an incubator have a significantly higher rate of survival than those locating outside an incubator.

“We welcome all businesses to apply,” Harper said. “The goal is to attract businesses in the areas of research, light manufacturing, technology or service.”

There are already five business committed to location in the newly remodeled area.  The winners of Southeast’s Student Entrepreneurship Program also will be housed in one of the incubator office spaces.

A single office rental fee includes daily mail service, weekly janitorial services, all utilities, free parking near the building and 24-hour building access. Other amenities included in the office price are access to a business receptionist with building scheduling services, and use of a conference room and state-of-the-art training room. Start-ups can be networked to the building copier/printer and use the building fax machine for a small per-page fee. The University also has many academic resources that a small business owner might find helpful.  Businesses will be required to cover phone services and the one-time LAN line installation, but for only $5 a month, they will have access to the Internet.  For an additional nominal cost, the incubator offers furniture rental to start-ups, subject to availability.

Start-up businesses locating in the incubator will have several advantages, Harper said. In addition to physical space, the Business Incubator will offer business development and planning, off-site equipment and product testing, intern support, referrals to professional services and access to investment capital. They will be encouraged to access the resources of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Missouri Enterprise, all of which are housed within the Innovation Center.

“This is an exciting opportunity for new businesses,” Harper said. “We are offering a facility that is not just overhead lighting and four walls, but instead it is intended to be a ‘home’ for start-up businesses.”