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Downtown aims to incubate new business

POSTED August 14, 2009 8:55 p.m.
The Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association is in the final stages of launching a business incubator to help kick-off the bridal shopping destination branding campaign for downtown.
Billed as the Turlock Downtown Economic Alliance, the business incubator will set up shop at 300 E. Main St., as soon as all the specifics are finalized with the city’s building and engineering department, said TDPOA Executive Director Trina Walley. The site has already been given occupancy clearance for the office spaces. The location will be able to accommodate 11 offices and four retail shops.
The premise behind a business incubator is to offer entrepreneurs and fledgling companies the start-up ground and the support system to get their business up and running.
In return, the businesses are expected to move out of the incubator within two years, preferably in the downtown area, Walley said.
“The idea has been well received, especially by home-based businesses and those with locations outside of Turlock,” Walley said. “It’s a more feasible route for many businesses, given the current economy. It will be a very cooperative environment for starting up a business.”
The TDPOA hopes to attract businesses that fall within the bridal sector, which includes an array of options from an upscale women’s shoe store to a gourmet kitchen shop, but Walley said it will be open to all businesses interested in a downtown location.
By correlating the businesses under one roof, the incubator can offer a lower rental cost, as well as shared resources. The incubator program will offer its tenants marketing, educational, and support services, including a shared receptionist.
It will also have offices and conference room rentals for rent on a more short-term basis, like for a few hours.
“It will not be just a resource to the businesses in the incubator,” Walley said. “It will be a resource for all of downtown.”
Business incubators do have a successful history. According to the National Business Incubator Association there are more than 4,000 incubators worldwide and 84 percent of companies that start in incubators go on to open their own site in the region.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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