New businesses flourishing in experienced hands - - The News for South Mississippi

New businesses flourishing in experienced hands

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - David Hinkel has been a photographer since 2007. He found out quickly making a business of it was complicated.

"I tried doing it from the house," said Hinkel. "I went to the [Pascagoula] City Council. I was in zone 1-A, so I couldn't do a business from there."

With help from his father Tommy, Hinkel set up shop in the Jackson County Small Business Incubator in Moss Point several months ago. He pays subsidized rent for his office and studio, and receives business training and advice from staff and board members, as well as other entrepreneurs who take up tenancy in the incubator. 

The incubator is part of the Institute for Compatible Development. Potential tenants must have their business plans approved by the Jackson County Small Business Incubator Board of Directors. 

Businesses who are selected receive office space at reduced prices and access to development resources, among other perks. The program is designed to provide businesses a home for their first two or three years of existence. 

The incubator also provides a virtual tenancy program for small businesses in need of a business address.

"They're all willing and able to help you start a business and develop it," said Tommy Hinkel.  "So I'm mighty happy that this benefit, and I consider it a benefit, was available to us."

The business incubator has welcomed tenants like the Hinkels for just more than one year, and in that time ten businesses have called it home. In that time, other small business owners have benefited from counseling and training offered by incubator staff. 

Incubator officials said all the businesses who have taken advantage of their services have created more than 50 new jobs in Jackson County.

Director Janice Mabry said she was deeply concerned the recession could hurt the incubator's success. She said she's pleasantly surprised by not only the number of businesses that have taken advantage of the program but also their diversity.   

"When we started this I didn't realize we'd have someone like a photographer come in or a counselor or a lawn service come in," said Mabry. "And all of us that live here in Jackson County frequent and utilize the services of small business. So it's really nice to know there is something to help the small business person grow and flourish."

Mabry said she hopes to expand resources in the future, to help people take a chance in business.

"We would hope to have more in the way of training our business environment, our small businesses," said Mabry. "Have this space full and more small businesses starting up and providing jobs."

For more information on the services available at the Jackson County Small Business Incubator, call (228) 475-3341.

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