The family provided accounting help and assisted them with raising capital and provided other business assistance services. Since then business incubators have spread throughout the nation, including here in San Angelo. San Angelo’s business incubator is called the Business Factory and is located downtown in the Business Resource Center on 69 North Chadbourne Street. Its goal is to help young firms grow and survive during the crucial startup period.
Originally started in 2003 with the City of San Angelo Development Corporation’s (COSADC) support, the Business Factory has housed and supported many small businesses in San Angelo. Many of these local businesses have survived and are beating the odds by still being in business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2012, only half of the small businesses survive five years from startup. However, the National Business Incubator Association stated from their 2010 data that 87 percent of all firms that graduated from their incubators are still in business. They also state this is especially true when there is technical business assistance available to incubator clients. With San Angelo’s Business Factory, the technical business advice is located under the same roof in the Business Resource Center (BRC) through the ASU Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC is located in the BRC and regularly provides technical business advice and training, and resource connections to incubator clients.
The Business Factory incubation program under COSADC and is operated in partnership with the ASU SBDC. COSADC provides the important function of the building and equipment maintenance and repair. They also initiate and manage agreements with incubator clients and monitor their progress. The ASU SBDC markets and recruits the Business Factory to the community and is responsible for keeping the incubator full. The partnership is a good one between two entities with the same basic goal; improve the business climate in San Angelo.
In all, small business incubators are supportive environments for small businesses in the startup phase. They provide administrative services and technical support under one roof and for a set price based on the leased square footage. Rent is ramped upwards over a 3-4 year period to allow the incubator client to become financially stable. At the end of the period, the client will graduate and have paid market rates for the last year of their lease.
In addition, the Business Factory has an advisory panel made up of local business owners, former incubator clients, business development officials, and financial experts that provide additional advice, connections, and encouragement to incubator clients. All this provides a supportive environment for small business to grow and thrive, which is the goal of business incubation.
For more information on the Business Factory, or to get a tour of the space, contact me Dave Erickson at the SBDC 325-942-2098 or contact Nora Nevarez with COSADC at 325-653-7197. Also, see angelo.edu/businessfactory.
“Business Tips” was written by Dave Erickson, Director and Certified Business Advisor, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact him at David.Erickson@angelo.edu.