The family that bought the plant decided to divide up the building into smaller spaces for use by smaller companies. 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 (BRC) on 69 North Chadbourne Street. Its goal is to help emerging 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. Most of them have survived and are beating the odds by still being in business. The inbia.org, formerly known as the National Business Incubator Association, stated from a past study 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 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 is under COSADC. It is operated in partnership with the 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 SBDC’s role is to market and recruit businesses to the Business Factory. The partnership is a good one between the two entities who have the same basic goal; improve the business climate and business success in San Angelo.
Small business incubators are supportive environments for those entities 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 business to become financially and operationally stable. At the end of the period, the business will graduate and have paid close to market rates for the last year of their lease. They may even move into a building they purchased or built.
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 businesses to grow and thrive, which is the goal of business incubation.
We want to congratulate the latest Business Factory graduate-Centurion Planning and Design. We wish this great and growing business the best as they move into their renovated building in downtown San Angelo after a successful stay in the Business Factory.
For more information on the Business Factory, or to get a tour of the space, contact Dave Erickson at the SBDC 325-942-2098 or Nora Nevarez with COSADC at 325-653-7197.
“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.