March 1st we celebrated our 60% occupancy and introduced the new Incuator collaboration project between the City of Frazee and Business & Entrepreneurial Services to the community and our supporters. More than 150 people turned out to meet the tenants, see our Incubator and share in the celebration of economic development and a new neighbor on their main street Frazee.
Our current tenants include: MIB Center (manufactoring); Megan Hagel Creative (design/illustrator); Toad River Technology (computer sales/service); Lakes Sew & Vac (repair/sales); Paul Johnson (non profit organization); Frazee Retail Outlet (retail/liquidator).
We continue to have a lot of interest in the Incubator and just recently added another new tenant to our multi-use mix as well are embarking on an unique and important collaboration and partnership with the Frazee High School, M State's ENTR program and a funder - West Central Initiative to occupy our retail incubator space.
This partnership would afford both HS and college students a learning opportunity, while generating some retail activity on the main street of Frazee and help a funding partner liquidate some merchandise that was leftover in a failed loan to a local business. More details on this project in my next blog.
We continue to have interest from a variety of up-start businesses, several of whom are currently enrolled in our support workshops, Preparing the Entrepreneurial Venture and other contact events through BES - including a bio-feedback specialist, gourmet cupcake business, attorney, bookkeeper, specialty gift basket business and more.
In February we began to also offer workshops, trainings and conference room rental at the Frazee Incubator site with a good response. Currently our Quickbooks for Business course (5 wks) has 14 students/tenants - which is capacity. All Incubator tenants are required to take this course during their first year of occupancy as a requirement of their tenant agreement.
The City of Frazee, their Economic Development Authority and BES continue to be very pleased with the rapid progress, interest and growth of the Incubator project. BES is currently in the hiring process for a FT Incubator Manager - with the intention to continue to partner with area communities in similiar incuator projects such as this in the very near future.