Now let’s look at each of these examples in a community that has a local business incubator and accelerator. This would be a center very similar to the one I am going to explain how to create, later in this guide.
A local 7 year old is shining shoes at the courthouse on court days during the summer. His goal was to earn a tough $15.00 to $20.00 per day instead of spending his mornings at home playing video games. A grandparent, parent, teacher, or judge from the town notices the work ethic of this young man and wants to help by encouragement. They remember hearing about the new business incubator and accelerator in town and decide to stop in.
They drop by the accelerator and are greeted by a smiling youth, who is working the reception. They quickly notice the incubator and accelerator is bustling with other entrepreneurs completing free college courses, receiving business training, and working hand in hand with local business leaders to help grow their ideas into job creating local pillars of success.
The individual mentions to the incubator and accelerator clerk they would like to help the shoe shine boy grow his business and create opportunities for him to grow his entrepreneurial spirit. They are then given a tour of the facility. At the end of the tour they are presented with different options to invest and support this young man’s training in several ways. They can make a donation of money, materials, or time that will be earmarked for the shoe shine boy to grow his business within the incubator and accelerator.
The young man will now receive free training and classes on ethics, taxes, accounting, and marketing while he works his way through the incubator and accelerator’s well designed programs.
Up next, we have the taxi business. A local businessman takes a convenient ride to the airport. This service had never been offered before in the history of this 200-year-old town. He mentions the incubator and accelerator to the owner-operator of the cab. The cab driver has a solid grip on the business and is turning a profit but needs to grow in order to make the whole endeavor worthwhile. He stops by the incubator and accelerator and joins as a member. Now he provides the taxi services, deliveries, and courier services for all the other members of the incubator and accelerator. He is learning finance and marketing skills to grow his current fleet.
The incubator and accelerator’s manager is also abreast of the fact that the state is providing a grant for low-income ride providers in rural communities. The local taxi company receives the grant, buys more vehicles at a local dealership and hires new employees to work full time. Instead of the grant going to government funded ETHRA, the small business will never have to compete against a non profit government entity.
Another example is the LakeFun.com website. This profitable business created an avenue for local businesses to advertise affordably. They are able to reach millions of out of town visitors with their goods and services. An advertiser who was also involved with the local incubator and accelerator also runs a local hotel. He has advertised on LakeFun.com since the website’s inception. His hotel was actually receiving a larger return on investment using this local form of advertising than he was with Google or Facebook.
Since the hotel owner had helped mentor young companies at the incubator and accelerator he mentioned a weekly improvisational comedy meeting to the LakeFun.com owner. During the weekly chapter meeting at the incubator business leaders practiced sales and public interactions through the use of improvisational comedy. Then the website owner was able to collaborate on ideas with each of the incubator and accelerator’s members.
While attending the chapter meeting one person mentioned a nearby chamber of commerce and their upcoming initiative to use the areas lakes as the backbone for their new advertising campaign. The chamber now could avoid wasting over $100,000 tax payer dollars while trying to reinvent a wheel that already existed in the community. They were able to hire the local LakeFun.com website owner to create the message they wanted. They achieved this for only 10% of what they expected to spend with an out of state website developer. This new contract allowed the local company to hire 3 new web developers. All of whom live, work, and pay taxes locally. Plus the chamber saved the communities tax dollars.
Finally, we have a client moving to the area from Colorado. She heard about the area through a local construction company’s national advertising campaign promoting products, facilities, and the beauty of the local area. After arriving in town, she tells the real estate agent what company she has chosen to build her home. Her real estate agent gives the company a glaring review.
The agent works with the local incubator and accelerator on teaching sales and closing techniques to young entrepreneurs. His agency also sells quite a few homes and commercial properties to the successful companies from within the incubator and accelerator. He is familiar with the story and value of the local home builder and manufacturer who also has several employees that volunteer at the incubator and accelerator. He is aware the entire wall and roof system is manufactured in town using locally sourced material, employees, and resources. He understands the benefits of local construction and he knows the manufacturer well.
When the client from Colorado asks about the local construction firm, the agent knows his client is making an excellent choice. He confirms her decision as a solid one. The customer chooses the local manufacturer. Instead of buying Chinese drywall, untaxed labor, and out of state materials. The builder then buys every penny of the $250,000 house’s material at the local hardware store. The labor used to install these materials comes from members of the community as well.
These are just some very personal examples of how my incubator and accelerator program will benefit any community. It will ultimately overcome any business broken environment. This is no easy task, because the thrill people take from badmouthing local businesses is great. The need to know the latest gossip is steadfast and brings perceived power.
The strength of the incubator and accelerator works on many levels. Initially it will foster new ideas by educating and inspiring entrepreneurs and their ideas. Then it will create a sense of community by bringing business leaders together to develop a better understanding of each other’s businesses, and the new ideas that are popping up within the community. Ultimately, it will create new jobs, which is the only way to mend a community that is Business Broken.