Small business open house is Thursday
Published: Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 11:27 p.m.
Business consultant Bill Dorman held client meetings in coffee shops and hotel rooms before discovering Santa Fe College's Entrepreneur Incubator on West University Avenue.
If you go
What: Santa Fe Entrepreneur Incubator Open House. Breakfast, advice and networking for new small-business owners and those hoping to start a new business.
When: 7:30 to 10 a.m. Thursday.
Where: Santa Fe Center for Innovation and Economic Development, 530 W. University Ave.
The school's Center for Innovation and Economic Development, where the Entrepreneur Incubator is located, provides small businesses with resources and temporary office space from which to conduct business.
People wanting to start their own business are invited to an open house, Stepping Up or Stepping Out, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday at the center at 530 W. University Ave.
The center's benefit to small businesses in the early stages of development can mean the difference between success or failure.
According to the Small Business Administration, 64 percent of Florida's employer start-ups launched between 2000 and 2005 lasted two years or more, and 48 percent lasted five years or more.
"For a small business that needs to keep (its) overhead low, this is ideal," said Karla Wooten, who has office space at the center. "All the little details involved in renting a separate office space, they basically take care of. The CIED is the best-kept secret in Gainesville."
The open house Thursday will include a hot breakfast, networking opportunities and a presentation at 8 a.m. on the most common business mistakes when starting a business, said Dug Jones, vice president for economic development with the center.
"Individuals can come in with just an idea and a business plan and we can help them move forward from there," said Jones.
The Entrepreneur Incubator officially opened its doors in February 2009 and offers two levels of involvement to small businesses: residents and associates.
A resident shares office space and amenities at the Entrepreneur Incubator for a monthly fee of $306.
Associates pay $96 a month for access to printing and other equipment, a business mailing address and a receptionist, as well as the use of conference and training rooms.
Monthly workshops, some of which are free, are open to center participants and the business community at large.
Dorman, who now works as a consultant with center businesses, said he's passing on valuable lessons from when he was starting out.
LeeAnn Applewhite, CEO for Applied Food Technologies, recently graduated from the center and has since moved to the University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubation Program in Alachua.
"The resources at CIED helped me more clearly define what I wanted to do, what I needed to do and how to do it," she said.
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