Santa Fe College’s “face” in the local business and innovation community is its Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED). The CIED’s Entrepreneur Incubator is charged with helping local entrepreneurs get their new businesses off the ground. The incubator recently graduated two businesses, Citizen’s Co-op and Applied Food Technologies, which has opened space for additional companies to join the incubator.
“Supporting an incubator is one of the college’s main efforts to have a positive impact on the economy here in our area,” said Dug Jones, Santa Fe’s VP for economic development.
Anyone in Bradford or Alachua County interested in starting a business or aligning an existing business with the CIED is welcome to attend the CIED’s next open house, Starting Up or Stepping Out, scheduled for 7:30 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. at 530 W. University Ave., Gainesville (32601).
Enjoy breakfast and networking from 7:30 to 8 a.m., and then from 8 to 10 a.m., learn about the 10 most common business mistakes people make when starting a business.
Entrepreneur Incubator categories
Incubating resident businesses at the CIED – there are up to four at any given time – pay $285 a month. In return, they are allocated their own office space, including a networked desktop computer, which they have access to 24/7; access to the CIED’s entrepreneurship workshops; advice sessions with professionals in accounting, human resources, finance, business planning, and marketing; use of CIED technology such as a high speed copier and scanner; and use of the CIED’s meeting and classroom facilities.
Associate businesses, of which there are eight, pay $90 a month for everything above except for committed office space. They have access to the shared areas of the CIED during normal working hours.
At this time, there is space for two new businesses to join as residents and three as associates. In addition to use of the CIED’s facilities, incubating companies are expected to enroll in the entrepreneur series offered by Santa Fe’s Continuing Education program (tuition is covered in the monthly fee), which includes workshops offered by subject area experts in topics such as accounting, recordkeeping and marketing. Incubator members also meet weekly with their peers to hash over their accomplishments and challenges. This group activity is led and facilitated by professionals at the CIED.
“The access to expertise is perhaps the most valuable component for our companies,” said Jones.
Additional CIED services
The CIED rents meeting space, coordinates the college’s Continuing Education program, and develops workforce and corporate training as needed by area businesses. The CIED is also home to the Employ Florida Banner Center for Construction.
A full description of services and CIED incubator applications are available online at www.sfcollege.edu/cied or, for more information, contact Dug Jones at 352-395-5269 or Business Support Specialist Mary Short at 352-395-5892.