Business Incubator Feels Growing Pains

Since 1990, the Technology Center has helped 87 businesses get started and then move on to bigger quarters. Now, the center needs extra space itself to help launch more businesses.

Lisa Wiseman and her daughter Brye Lehmann are center's newest graduates. Two years ago, the mother/daughter team started their business on their dining room table. They quickly figured out they could use more space, so they moved to the center and more convenience.

"The resources, the staff, just a copier, anytime that you needed to use it. All of these instruments people don't realize how expensive they are to really get started. So it gave us a real opportunity to be able to expand without all the costs," Wiseman said.

Now the technology center is expanding by adding 9,600 square feet. The new addition will allow for more warehouse space for manufacturing tenants. The big plus, says the center's director, is the creation of a kitchen incubator, which will open up a whole new market for up to 20 tenants or one big company.

"It gives you space where one company can come in with commercial kitchen space already built so they meet all the requirements that's necesssary which can be very costly, very expensive for a small company, or we can use it as shared space so a company can come in in the morning, someone else comes in in the afternoon, someone else comes in the next day so they just use three or four hours per day," Adele Lyons said.

The technology center is home to 22 businesses generating more than a $10 million impact last year, and putting four hundred people to work.

"Those are gonna be direct and indirect jobs that are created and then just with the expansion that gives us more opportunity for more jobs to be created, more businesses, more diversity in the community," Lyons said.

The new addition to the center should be finished by August.