• December 19, 2014

Cove incubator will provide office space for small businesses

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Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 4:30 am

COPPERAS COVE — Small-business owners who need their own places but aren’t ready to purchase or lease full office spaces will have a new option next year in Copperas Cove.

The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation is planning to open a business incubator — the Copperas Cove Entrepreneur Center — as early as June.

“This is very exciting, and I think it will be a great thing for the businesses and the entrepreneurs in the area,” said Polo Enriquez, EDC executive director.

Earlier this year, the corporation received approval from its board to open the center at 207 S. Third St.

The business incubator will have space for four offices and a meeting room for entrepreneurs to use, said Diane Drussell, EDC business retention specialist.

The corporation hopes to house professional busi-

nesses such as accountants, marketers, architects, insurance agents and similar professions.

Because of space issues, the incubator will be limited in the types of businesses it can accommodate, Drussell said.

For example, a landscape architect couldn’t use the facility to house equipment, but they could use the incubator to meet with clients.

More than 1,250 incubators were in the United States in 2012 with an estimated 7,000 worldwide, according to the National Business Incubations Association website.

North American incubators assisted about 49,000 start-up companies in 2011, providing full-time employment for nearly 200,000 workers and generating annual revenue of almost $15 billion, the website stated.

Temple College and the Temple Economic Development Corporation have supported a business incubator for more than a decade. It serves Bell County and seven surrounding counties.

Two companies that employ about five people are housed at the Entrepreneur Center of Central Texas, said Vane Hugo, director of the center. The businesses, a government contractor and a robotic technician and operator trainer, have made about a $1 million economic contribution to the area, he said.

A former business at the center also recently received a $5 million grant and is now conducting research in Great Britain.

Benefits to start-ups

The benefit of being located at the Temple center is “our flagship service — full business counseling,” Hugo said.

A small-business development counselor is available on site and other staff assist businesses in the brainstorming process.

Workshops about business topics such as marketing are conducted by the Temple facility.

“A lot of what (start-up) businesses need is someone to bounce ideas off of,” Hugo said. “We certainly don’t tell people how to run their business. We ask them leading questions that help them think through things they haven’t thought about.”

Copperas Cove’s center will offer similar services. Businesses that locate inside the center will have access to shared office equipment and a shared receptionist, Drussell said.

Small Business Administration officials will visit the site to conduct workshops. A variety of other professional services that help small businesses — including lawyers, accountants and bankers — will be available.

“Our biggest thing is we want to offer a service to the community that will help grow these businesses,” Drussell said. “We are encouraging them to take it to the next level.”

Details about policies at the center need be finalized.

Work left to do

“There are a lot of decisions that need to be made, and there are a lot of regulation that needs to be worked out,” Enriquez said. “Those are the necessary parts of it, because you have to do these things to make it legal.”

Applications for businesses to apply for the space should be available by January or February, Drussell said.

Businesses will need to have a developed business plan, which will be reviewed by the corporation, before the government agency enters into a contract with the entrepreneur.

“Everyone will have to sign a lease,” Drussell said.

“It will be affordable, but we want you to grow. This keeps starting their business at a lower cost. A lot of businesses don’t think of everything they need and sometimes run out of money.”

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