You do it. You decide to start out on your own. You decide to work for yourself rather than someone else. You buy a business, co-found one with a partner, start a company from scratch. Maybe it’s a side hustle, maybe it’s your dream after retirement, maybe it’s an opportunity you couldn’t pass up.
You are an entrepreneur.
With the help of Google, YouTube, and your brother-in-law’s friend’s coaching, you begin your journey.
Slowly but surely your customer base starts growing. Your kitchen counter is overflowing, and you didn’t know you were capable of drinking this much coffee. Some days you feel like this may actually go somewhere and the risk you took will pay off. Other days the frustration of wearing so many hats and working so many hours wears you down, but you’re doing it. You’re hustling with all you’ve got.
As with most small businesses, you arrive at a crossroads. It’s time to take this to the next level. Your coffee shop meetings are interrupted by teens taking selfies at the table next to you, the supply list is growing, you don’t have space to store your product, your home office is turning into more of an office with people living in it, and more questions arise than you anticipated. If you’re really being honest, it’s lonely. Being your own boss has its perks, but it doesn’t take long before it becomes isolating. You need other entrepreneurs to network with, you need advice from someone who knows what they’re doing, you need breaks in the hustle to step back and re-evaluate.
You need a community.
That’s the part of the story you know. Let us help you finish it.
You look at a few office locations that push your budget and offer little more than a blank rectangular space. You ask around and maybe try a networking event.
Finally, you find it – a home for your business. It’s month-to-month rent so you have flexibility, but it’s still technically a lease because that’s what lenders often require for loans.
There’s a welcoming reception area with someone to greet your clients. You have 24/7 access to the secured building. There’s a break room and free coffee to feed that caffeine addiction you acquired. You take a tour through boardrooms and conference rooms complete with whiteboards and projectors for you to use (no more coffee shop presentations!). You find out there are two professional business counselors on staff to offer free business counseling, along with training and classes. The staff also throws holidays parties and weekly fresh-baked cookie breaks.
It’s more than just office space
Your office is in a building full of entrepreneurs like you. Next door is a foundation that’s mentoring women professionals. Down the hall is a company that can help you with your payroll and taxes. Across the building is a trucking and logistics company, which is next to website developers. There’s a guy who makes wine slushies in the back. There’s a lab of scientists doing research and production of antibodies.
Now you have tools, networking, resources, contacts, space.
You have the entrepreneurial community you were searching for.
This is just what your side-hustle, retirement dream, take-a-chance-with-a-friend, bet-the-farm endeavor needed to get to the next level.
They call it an ‘incubator’ because it develops small businesses to hopefully outgrow the location and move on to bigger and better things. Oh, and when you do, they finance buildings or equipment for small businesses.
It’s not a business looking to capitalize on your venture, it’s a nonprofit with a goal to foster the entrepreneurial spirit and build the economy.
It’s called the EDC. Let us be a part of your story.