NWTC supports Green Bay business incubator

January 24, 2013

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Q&A: How Advance helps start-ups get off the ground” — Press-Gazette Media talks to business owners and leaders in its weekly conversation feature. Today, Elizabeth Slade, program manager of the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center, talks about the business incubator and how it works.

Slade joined Advance in July 2012. Before that, she was the volunteer coordinator for Freedom House Ministries in Green Bay.

Q. Describe the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center.

A. The Advance Business & Manufacturing Center is a program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce that provides start-up and growth-focused companies with an array of targeted resources, programs and services.

There are individual offices, office suites and light-manufacturing or industrial space available. Our partner organizations — Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Entrepreneur Resource Center, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Small Business Development Center and SCORE — offer onsite business counseling, mentoring, technical assistance and training. Advance also offers the Advance Microloan program, Brown County Revolving Loan Fund, business attraction and retention services and commercial site selection. Essentially, we are a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

We also are a key partner in the Brown County Culinary Kitchen, which exists to help food-related businesses overcome the obstacle of high start-up costs by providing a fully equipped, commercially licensed, shared-use kitchen.

Our kitchen is open two hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We use an online scheduling system so that clients can request time in the kitchen at their convenience. The kitchen is a nonprofit collaborative effort among N.E.W. Curative Rehabilitation, The Farm Market Kitchen, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Advance, the economic development arm of Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Q. How many tenants do you have and what types of businesses are they?

A. We are fortunate to work with 41 clients from various industries. The companies range from a machine shop, web design and web development, insurance agency, law firms, energy data aggregator and curtailment services provider, Christian counseling agency, marketing firms, financial planning, security systems, civil engineering firm, medical coding specialist, Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, ministry and more.

The kitchen currently works with 16 clients who produce the following products: candy, jellies, chocolates, gourmet popcorn, salsa, bakery, booyah, cocktail garnishments and gourmet treats for pets.

Q. How do businesses go about locating in the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center?

A. Businesses interested in becoming a client should begin the process by completing an inquiry form at advanceincubator.org and then schedule a tour. To be accepted into the program, every business must submit the following: a basic business plan, financial performance and a credit report request form.

A committee of volunteers reviews applications and renders a decision.

Q. What are the benefits to locating in the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center?

A. The initial start-up costs are minimal as opposed to traditional commercial real estate because we are a nonprofit organization that’s focused on helping entrepreneurs. Our monthly fee includes all of the following benefits:

• Flexible lease terms

• Utilities, maintenance and housekeeping

• Loading dock with material handling equipment and a shared forklift (licensed required)

• High-speed Wi-Fi

• 120-volt power and 440v three-phase power

• Fax machine use

• Building receptionist and comfortable visitor waiting area

• Daily mail delivery/pick-up

• Conference rooms, boardroom and classroom

• Network copy/printer (10 cents per color/5 centers per black and white)

• Secure 24-hour access to the building and shared services

• Dedicated parking lot

• NWTC campus security and first responders

• Well-equipped break room and coffee

• Video conferencing and presentation equipment

• Onsite seminars, classes, workshops, networking events, mentoring and technical assistance

• Basic office furniture is available, including desk, chair, file cabinet and table.

Q. What is the success rate of businesses leaving the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center?

A. The success rate of a company that graduates from the incubator is approximately 75 percent. These business owners sold their companies or are still in operation today. The success is directly related to the entrepreneurs building a strong foundation by using the onsite resources of the center.

 

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