Minnesota State Community and Technical College (MN) will establish a regional incubator to assist in growing new businesses in a local community. Matching funds: $5,000. Project Director: Beth Pridday
We've OPENED! finally - our collaboration and experiential learning project that has become an "official" tenant of our Frazee incubator is open this week! We have two M State students operating the Retail Outlet 3 days a week under the supervision of our new incubator manager, Erika Johnson.
I've attached our PD that we used to 'hire' the students who are working under our Student Associate program and getting a small wage stipend to work while gaining an education in a setting that will benefit their future employment plans (ie - experiential learning). Additionally, we have created activity, foot - traffic and received a special projects grant of $1000 to get our "retail" space in the incubator set up and ready to operate for a future tenant. With the grant we were able to purchase POS (point of sale) software, printing (see attached business card), signage, a printer, advertising (see attached Grand Opening ad) and some technology (phone, CC machine, etc). All of this will be available to the next retail incubation tenant.
We are continuing our conversation and collaboration work with the Frazee High School to extend this experiential learning opportunity to HS student in the Fall of 2011 that would include their students receiving college credit for the experience.
June 14, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beth Pridday, Director firstname.lastname@example.org or 218.846.3667
Liquidation Sale at Frazee Retail Outlet -Discounts on Bait and Tackle While Supplies Last
(FRAZEE, MN) The Frazee Retail Outlet store announces its opening with a liquidation sale of fishing supplies. From rods and reels to lures and bobbers, everything you might need for a day of fishing. Receive 50% off retail prices on all items in the store. The Frazee Outlet is the newest addition to the Business and Entrepreneurial Services (BES) Incubator offices in Frazee, located at 119 Main Ave E. The Frazee Retail Outlet will be open Mondays from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Tuesdays 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
For more information call 218.334.2034 or 218.844.5420.
I am writing this letter to recommend BES and the wonderful services and opportunities they have provided me. I am new to the Frazee incubator, but have already seen changes in myself as a business professional. From day one, BES has encouraged opportunities for me to grow my business, and my skills as a person. BES is continuously offering workshops, mentor meetings, and classes.
Since being a tenant for only two months I have attended one workshop, two mentor meetings and a Quickbooks class. There are many avenues for us to grow, and it is our choice to follow what opportunities with fit our learning style the best. All of these things are offered to me free, because they truly want to see me succeed and to aid in the local economic growth. I have learned so much about myself through these offerings, and identified the direction where I should take my illustration business next. BES spends a lot of time finding volunteers from the community to offer their time for mentoring new entrepreneurs, which I find an invaluable resource. Many volunteers come forward to share their experiences as either a new, or seasoned entrepreneur, in the Speaker Series that the BES also offers.
It’s motivating to hear other entrepreneurs going through the same struggles and joys of owning your own business. The face-to-face time we get to have with entrepreneurs is beneficial, and provides more insight than simply relying on getting all your information from books.
Before coming to BES I was at a stand still with my business, but BES has re-energized me to succeed. Since joining the incubator family at BES, I have set new goals for myself and my business. I have finally been introduced to the opportunities and resources to make my goals happen.
I am so appreciative for BES being in my life and Beth, Jacqueline, and the rest of the staff treat me so well. They treat me like they are of service to me, and the only thing they require in return, is for me to learn and take advantage of a couple of the workshops and classes they provide for us. I am so thankful for BES! I finally have that feeling I was searching for, excitement of my business moving ahead again!
ABOUT MEGAN Megan is an illustrator and product designer who lives in central Minnesota. She enjoys creating whimsical and cozy artwork for greetings cards, stationery, scrapbook products, as well as illustrating for editorials with a desire to illustrate children's books. She has nine years experience in design, working with clients such as: Masterpiece Studios, Creative Memories, PxlCafe, Peartree Greetings, and From House to Home Magazine. Her work has appeared in retailers such as Target, Walmart, Archivers, Office Max, Office Depot and Staples. Megan has a wonderful husband who both enjoy playing and conversing with their fascinating one year old daughter. Megan enjoys spending her days off rummaging for one-of-a-kind buys or fantasizing a new craft endeavor with a good friend and coffee in hand.
The closing of a bait and tackle store in Frazee means the opening of opportunities for students at Frazee High School and Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Detroit Lakes. Beth Pridday, director of Business & Entrepreneurial Services on M State’s Detroit Lakes campus, said the bait and tackle store closed last year, leaving West Central Initiative Fund with the store’s inventory and fixtures. But Pridday, WCI staff and Frazee community leaders saw more than unsold fishing tackle: They saw potential.
BES was already involved in a business incubator in downtown Frazee with five current tenants, and there was an open retail space in the front of the main street incubator. They developed a plan to move the store’s inventory and fixtures to the Frazee Business Incubator and allow college and high school students to open and operate the business. "Opportunity met opportunity,” Pridday said. "It’s collaboration on every level.” They’re calling it the Frazee Retail Outlet because their goal, once the spinners and spoons have been snapped up by local fishermen, is to continue operating the business as a deep-discount retail liquidation center. "We’re going to continue the concept because we think it will work in Frazee,” Pridday said. The goal is to open the business in mid-May, although the opening date and the store hours are still tentative.
Once WCI has been repaid for the unsold inventory from the bait store, the college and the community will share the profits. Two students from M State will be hired as paid associates to help run the business, as well as get experiential learning opportunities that will translate in to college credit. Along with the learning opportunity, they will also supervise Frazee High School students who work in the store to gain retail and business experience in merchandising, inventory, sales and marketing and earn college credit as well.
WCI has awarded a $1,000 grant to assist with set-up expenses for the Frazee Retail Outlet, and other sources have been contacted to assist with start-up funding. Pridday said, along with an agreement with the City of Frazee has to initially reduce the rent for the incubator business space. Jonathan Smith, Frazee’s city manager, said he has been a part of helping to connect M State, BES and the Frazee high school. "It’s going really well. So far we haven’t found many negatives about the partnership,” Smith said. "The high school is excited to be involved – it provides students with real-life experience running a business, and it gives them an idea of the business climate on our main street.”
The Frazee Incubator Center owned by the City of Frazee and managed by the Business & Entrepreneurial Services, opened in December 2010 and also houses Toad River Technology, MIB Center, Megan Hagel Creative, Lakes Sew & Vac and Waters of Grace Lutheran Church. Three additional spaces are available in the center, which supports new and growing businesses with retail space, support services and educational opportunities through BES at M State - Detroit Lakes. "This is not only a cool and fun collaboration but a win-win for all involved – and an amazing opportunity to showcase how education, training and entrepreneurs all work together to create jobs, economic development and opportunity in rural MN,” Pridday said.
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.
On December 1st we officially had the Ribbon Cutting on what now is our first collaboration with a small rural MN town with an Incubator office building, where their City and EDA (Economic Development Authority) are the landlords (in this case with the purchase of a building) and we are the Management. We have a contracted agreement where we receive a monthly management stipend for providing services and have also provided for all of the interior fit up and infrastructure, THANKS to the Coleman Foundation funding and Elevator Grant.
Prior to officially opening, two tenants had signed lease agreements and upon the announcement of these tenants, they instantly were welcomed in to this little community of Frazee (pop 1200) and became front page news! (see attached article) Not only has this "free press" been a boost for the entrepreneur (gaining them new business and recognition) it's been invaluable in getting out the word about the incubator and its offerings. The calls and showings of the spaces available have been weekly.
Additionally, we have had private sector industry step up and get involved with the donation of equipment, furntiure, labor for fit-up of the space and volunteers to serve on our Advisory Board for the Frazee incubator.
We are running to catch up to the rapid pace at which this incubator and economic development opportunity is growing and I'll update you more in my next blog on how it has extended itself beyond just the walls of our incubator offices and campus.
We are very excited about developing incubation services in rural Minnesota, specifically Frazee, MN. WE hare a grand opening slated for December on and are already moving in furniture and furnishings. To date, we have three tenants committed ot participate and are in conversation with two other entrepreneurs. This has been a good collaboration and has already elicited phone calls and inquiries from other area communities who are interested in the rural incubation model through M State and The Business and Entrepreneurial Services. Two of those communities appear to be committed and we anticipate meeting with respective EDA boards in the near future.