By John O’Brien
LYONS – There is a growing body of evidence confirming the critical role that entrepreneurs and small businesses play in driving local and national economies.
One of the goals we have in LEGG is to work with many people and groups in the community to create an environment in which the creative class can live, work and prosper. We try to do everything we can to encourage innovation by encouraging innovators, i.e. entrepreneurs, and the businesses that they start in Lyons. Our job is to provide an array of business support services to local businesses so that the community retains those businesses and perhaps helps to create new ones.
One of the ways we intend to continue to do that is to create a business incubator. These are programs designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies. Incubators in larger cities are typically in large office buildings or research and technology parks. Those companies chosen to participate are usually given rent and utilities at either low cost, or in some cases no cost, for a specified period of time, usually six months to one year. They are also given mentoring assistance and they have to develop a business plan and an implementation plan with defined milestone against which they are evaluated.
Successful completion of a business incubation program increases the likelihood that a start-up company will stay in business for the long term: older studies found 87 percent of incubator graduates stayed in business,in contrast to 44 percent of all firms.
In Colorado there are small business incubators in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Denver, Aurora and Boulder.
We have been encouraged by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (a division of the Rural Policy Research Institute) to consider the entire town of Lyons as an incubator site. Under this scenario the entrepreneurs chosen for an incubator could be located anywhere in town. Since we have limited space to grow as a town, we could see incubator candidates located in residential areas, which would be beneficial for the new business as well as the neighborhood.
In the coming year we will be working further with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship as local interested parties to implement a business incubator concept and plan in Lyons. We will be looking for potential candidates, so if you are one or you may know of somebody who may be interested, please let us know.
All of us at LEGG want to wish all of you a Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and just a great holiday season. For more information about LEGG or the Chamber of Commerce, please contact the Lyons Area Chamber of Commerce at 303.823.5215 or e-mail email@example.com.
John O’Brien is the chairman of the Lyons Economic Gardening Group, LEGG. He has worked in business and industry for many years and teaches classes at the University of Denver. He lives in Lyons. For more information on LEGG, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-823-5215.
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