Ribbon Cutting Planned June 21 for Southeast Business Incubator


Photo of the Southeast Innovation Center

A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on June 21 for Southeast Missouri State University’s new Business Incubator, located on the third floor of the Southeast Innovation Center.


June 12, 2007 – A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for 4 p.m. June 21 for Southeast Missouri State University’s new Business Incubator.

The incubator, located at 920 Broadway in part of the former First Baptist Church property, is located on the remodeled third floor of the Southeast Innovation Center. The Innovation Center encourages development of new businesses and technologies.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt is expected to be on hand for the festivities along with Southeast President Kenneth W. Dobbins, Board of Regents President Brad Bedell, and representatives of the Small Business Administration, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Ameren, the Delta Regional Authority and the Missouri Research Corporation.

The incubator comprises 11 new office spaces totaling 4,200 square feet. The spaces in the incubator vary in size and configuration from 80 to 1,100 square feet each.

Incubator tenants include the U.S. Small Business Administration; Cyber Nanny Surveillance owned by John Brown III and Wendell Hood Jr; River City Biologicals owned by Skip Wrape; Missouri Enterprise represented by John Kunz and Dewayne Whitener; the Center for Environmental Analysis managed by Dr. John Kraemer of Southeast Missouri State University; MB Medical Reimbursement LLC owned by Stacey Gallaher; Westray Consulting owned by Dr. Joel Ray; and the Tailor Institute owned by Dr. David Crowe. Winners of Southeast’s Student Entrepreneurship Program also will be housed in one of the incubator office spaces in the near future.

“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,” said Gina Harper of Southeast’s Innovation Center. “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.

“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 then one way to address a situation.”

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

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.”