Shared Space Incubator
Within the Miller Business Resource Center (MBRC) at Salt Lake Community College is a business incubator/accelerator called the Miller Business Innovation Center (MBIC). It is a challenge to operate the incubator at a breakeven point, given its physical size (15,000 sf). Its small size also limits the number of potential companies that can be impacted, as well. The MBIC can accommodate approximately 20 to 27 companies, leaving some space for company growth. There are currently 22 resident companies within the incubator, and one resident company has assigned permanent office space.
In an effort to increase the number of companies impacted and to increase revenue, a shared space/virtual incubator program was implemented about fifteen months ago. Companies have access to shared space (24/7) and other services (training rooms, conference room, internet access, counseling/mentoring, mail forwarding, etc.). Fees are very reasonable: $20 to $55 per month depending upon the services used. The response to the shared space program has exceeded expectations with 32 individuals/companies signing up for the program. It is anticipated the program can accommodate approximately 50 companies/individuals given the amount of shared space allocated. Some companies have "graduated" to the resident program.
Some lessons learned from the new program include:
- Limited space supports a significant number of companies
- Low price/low risk is extremely desirable to true start ups
- Shared space clients will feed into the resident program
- Introducing the program created a lot of positive buzz in the entrepreneurial community
- Accept only true startups with growth potential (no service providers, e.g., insurance, consultants, etc.)
The end result – company impacts have increased significantly and revenue has improved, which are two of our goals as part of the Shared Vision project.