We have several “business” badges planned for the meetings through January and early February. At a recent meeting, in an attempt to make it a little more fun AND get the girls out of our regular meeting space, we took a field trip to our local Business Incubator Center. (BIC) We are extremely fortunate to have this amazing resource in our small town.
A business “incubator” is exactly what it sounds like (think about a chicken egg in an incubator). They are set up to help “incubate” business from the start-up phase to enable them to become more successful. Their mission statement says it best, “The Business Incubator Center supports the launch, growth, stabilization and long-term success of business enterprises in Mesa County and the surrounding region. We measure success by our ability to guide entrepreneurs through sound business decisions and our positive influence on economic growth in the region”.
Our local Incubator was established in 1987. They “house” 50-60 businesses on their site and assist upwards of 1000 clients a year. “BIC was voted National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) Dinah Atkins Incubator of the Year/General and Special Focus in 2012/2013…as well as Incubator of the Year for 1995/1996 – Industrial/Service category, and is one of NBIA’s 50 Best Practices facilities.” This is a RAVE review considering we are a county of about 150,000 people and our Incubator was competing with over 7,000 BICs globally!
After meeting our “tour guide” we sat in a conference room and received that brief history on what the BIC is and does (oopps…we forgot to take photos during this part). Then, the girls got to take a tour of part of the facility.
This BIC has a lot of different types of clients on site, including manufacturing, culinary and services (such as pet training and educational tutoring!)
First we toured the kitchen space. This is a rent-by-the-hour kitchen facility that is certified by the Health Department. It allows a culinary business, such as a start up caterer, to make their product legally.
We then took a tour of what they call the “Maker Space”. The girls absolutely LOVED this room. This room is where they house a few small 3D-printers. This room, in addition to being used by local youth learning to use the printers, is a place you can make a prototype of your “product” so you can show people, such as investors, what you are talking about in your business plan!
Lastly we toured a couple of spaces where adults, and a local youth robotics club, make robots. We got to see 2 autonomous (as in they can drive themselves) cars that have been used in national competitions as well as a “first responder” robot. VERY COOL!
In addition to completing their Business Plan and Budget badges, we were recently talking about the girls’ Entrepreneur badge. In preliminary discussion, they were coming up with “silly” ideas for how to earn the badge. The leadership kept talking to them about how they should consider taking the badge seriously as they could even come up with the next “great thing”. They seemed leery. But, after this tour, when they realized young people like themselves are making money doing something they love, they came to the conclusion that anything is possible. Knowing we have a local resource such as this, and a local Young Entrepreneur Academy, is good incentive!
Special thanks to Annalisa at the Business Incubator Center for the great tour! We very much appreciate it!!!