Perham business incubator warming up
Leaders in local economic development are hoping to heat things up at the new business incubator site in Perham. Located at the former hospital, the Business Entrepreneurial Service center is a joint effort between M-State, the Perham Economic De...
Leaders in local economic development are hoping to heat things up at the new business incubator site in Perham.
Located at the former hospital, the Business Entrepreneurial Service center is a joint effort between M-State, the Perham Economic Development Authority and Perham Health. While offices are available for rent immediately, a grand opening will be celebrated Thursday, May 10.
Like other such 'incubators' popping up in communities around the region, the Perham center is designed primarily as a starting point for new businesses, but would also work as a satellite office option for existing companies.
The center offers perks for entrepreneurs, including affordable rents, helpful advice from experts at M-State, turn-key all-inclusive sunlit offices, a good location, a shared conference room, call forwarding and more.
It has "the total package deal appeal," said Perham's Economic Development Director, Chuck Johnson.
The center, which houses 11 offices, has been ready for tenants since early April. While the city has talked to several potential candidates, none have signed a lease yet, according to Johnson.
A similar initiative tried in Perham about 11 years ago - a technology center - was unsuccessful. But Johnson said this effort has a broader appeal, and city officials are hopeful it'll catch on with business owners soon. The Economic Development Authority plans to give it "a serious year" to build interest in the incubator and get some leases signed.
Since the Economic Development Authority only has to pay rent for filled spaces, there is little cost involved at this point. And, once all the spaces are filled, there will be no cost to the EDA, thanks to its partnership with M-State and the rent-paying tenants.
The Business Entrepreneurial Service program was the brainchild of former M-State President Ann Valentine. Her vision was to create a support network for area entrepreneurs, especially since many of the college's graduates end up being self-employed.
Insurance agents, accountants, computer repair persons, psychologists, consultants and even artists are all examples of business owners who have gotten successful starts through similar incubator programs in the region.
Johnson said the Perham offices are ideal for three types of candidates:
1) Someone with an idea for a business; a start-up initiative. This kind of candidate would benefit from the center's direct link to M-State assistance. New business owners "are like new parents - they have a lot of questions," he said, especially with things like technology. At the business incubator, these questions can get answered with relative ease. There are also optional classes that leaseholders can take to learn more about topics of interest.
2) Someone who is operating a business out of his or her garage or kitchen, and wants to take it to the next level.
3) Businesses looking for a small 'satellite' office in Perham, to expand their operations into this area.
After about five years at an incubator site, business owners typically 'graduate' into the real world, opening their own offices.
The grand opening in Perham will include a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m., tours of the facility, and a Perham Chamber 'Business After-Hours' meeting on site from 5-7 p.m.
For more information, contact Johnson at 346-9798.