supporting entrepreneurs in our community
DeKalb E-Center

Entrepreneurial Center Opens to Assist Businesses

Supporting Entrepreneurs in Our Community

Entrepreneurial Center Opens to Assist Businesses

Join us in supporting entrepreneurs in our community.
  • Story by Donna Thornton editor@times-journal.com
  • May 20, 2023

 

The DeKalb County Entrepreneurial Center is open for businesses, offering new ventures a place to start, and aiding existing small businesses as they market their products and services in a changing business landscape.

Grand opening for the center – a business incubator providing affordable space and resources – was Thursday evening. It is located at 246 McCurdy Avenue North in Rainsville.

“This is a vision I’m excited to be part of,” Executive Director Diana Goss said.

The center has four professional office spaces, and a 720 square foot space available for light manufacturing, which can be divided, she said.

Space in the facility rents for $1 per square foot on a three-year lease, renewable after each year, Goss said.

Those three years of lowered overhead can give a start-up or small business time to develop their product or service and build their customer base.

DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow compared it to the county building a bridge: “We don’t build it for the needs of today, we build it for the needs of 40 years from now.”

Three to five years is the “thrive and survive”  time period for these incubator businesses, Goss explained.  “If we can help them in their first three years and they survive past five, they are more likely to go to 10 years and even 50 years.”

Goss said there are three tiers of membership at the center. Full membership gives space and shared resources at the center.

There is virtual membership, she said, which can help existing small businesses that already have their brick-and-mortar location but may need help updating their business and marketing plans.

The center has two virtual members already.

“That’s the number one request of small businesses,” Goss said. “They may be ‘mom and pop’ shops that don’t have the means to hire a marketer. We’re going to help them with that and other needs.”

Aspiring membership is for the entrepreneur who has an idea for a product or service they’d like to make into a full-time business. Goss said the center can help such aspiring businesspeople to identify a customer base for their products.

“Then they would have first-come, first-served space in the incubator,” she explained, when they are ready to take those steps.

Goss said the entire 720 square feet in the back of the facility is available. She said, for example, if someone ships to Amazon, they could rent space to use for packaging and shipping, or if space were needed for light manufacturing of a product, space could be rented for that purpose.

The mission for the center, Goss said, is to educate, equip, and empower. Programs are available for kindergarten through college to teach people to become entrepreneurs. The center now will help equip people so that their start-ups can get started while training and help with business plans and marketing can help to empower them.

Vicky Kirby, president of the E-Center, is passionate about the empowerment element of that mission.

It starts with children, she said, with fostering their beliefs and their dreams for the future.

Goss said there will be monthly workshops on business topics, and local businesspeople are invited to ask for the kind of instruction they want or need. Recently someone came to the center and said they needed to better understand “risk assessment.” Goss said she was able to find someone to offer a class about it.

 

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