Soon, Lower Valley entrepreneurs won’t have far to travel for business coaching and classes offered by the Business Incubator Center.
The Grand Junction Incubator campus, 2591 Legacy Way on Orchard Mesa, will open a satellite office in the former library site inside the Fruita Civic Center, 325 Aspen Ave.
The Incubator offers low-cost business classes and free coaching through the Small Business Development Center, the Revolving Loan Fund of Mesa County, and other Incubator services. The 1,800-square-foot Fruita space will also include room for client tenants.
“We work with a number of Fruita businesses already,” Incubator Executive Director Jon Maraschin said. “This will give a chance to work with them in a more effective way on their turf.”
“Geographically, we are just far enough away that it’s difficult (for Fruita business owners) to get to classes and coaching (sessions).”
In January, the Incubator conducted a feasibility study and found 700 licensed Fruita businesses, many of them wanting to work with the Incubator, Maraschin said.
Fruita City Council voted unanimously on July 18 to approve $8,000 to replace the carpet, and another $13,000 in start-up money to get the operation “off the ground,” Fruita City Manager Clint Kinney said.
In 2011, when Fruita City Council adopted its economic development plan, one of the goals was to create a stronger Incubator presence.
Using the old library is a good use of space, and “we like the fact it’s downtown,” Kinney said.
The Grand Junction-based Incubator has helped launch more than 570 companies in the past 25 years. Those businesses have generated more than $156 million in revenue. It has also funded more than 330 businesses locally, and helped create approximately 10,461 jobs.
In the beginning, the Fruita office will be open a couple of days a week and will be staffed by existing Incubator employees, Maraschin said.
“We want people to come visit us,” Maraschin said.
The city is excited about the prospect, Kinney said. It’s going to help businesses throughout the town.
“We’re really grateful they’re bringing their services to Fruita,” he added.