Local entrepreneurs in want of expertise, collaboration and free labor are invited to join Incubator for Innovation and Impact opening in April at Concordia University Texas in Four Points.
Concordia partnered with Tech Ranch Austin, a startup accelerator, to establish the Incubator. Leaders shared the details with more than 75 professionals at a preview breakfast and panel discussion on Feb. 23.
“We wanted to build a collaborative environment between CU, the community, entrepreneurs and students,” said David Aronica, Incubator director and professor of entrepreneurship.
“I’m honored by Concordia to join with them. It’s not just an opportunity to build businesses, but it’s a chance to build businesses that make a difference,” said Kevin Koym, Tech Ranch founder and CEO. “It not only gives students the opportunity to get a job, it gives them a chance to get a meaningful job.”
In addition to organizing resources and opportunities, Concordia has set aside 2,000-square-feet of space under its roof for co-working.
With a modern but business classic motif, it is an alternative to similar spots in downtown Austin that feature trendy set-ups attractive to a younger demographic.
“More of our crowd is in their 40’s or older. Some have already had a successful career, maybe have a little money and are now ready to follow their passion. And, they don’t want to drive to downtown Austin any longer to collaborate,” said Aronica.
“We will have weekly events here, such as lunch and learn. We have students who can provide ‘cheap labor’ from which they and entrepreneurs will benefit,” the director said.
Incubator membership is required and available for a fee of $300 a month through April 3, when the fee increases to $350 a month.
In return, members will have access to:
- Academic resources, such as professors, subject matter experts and courses in all Concordia schools: business and communication, natural and applied sciences, humanities and social sciences, nursing and fine arts.
- Support from student interns in all academic disciplines for skills like writing business plans, creating financial models, building website back-ends, creating unique algorithms and writing press releases or customer communications.
- Library and databases for research and online news sources including Gale’s Small Business Collection, Hoover’s, Standard & Poor’s, EBSCO’s Business Source Complete and major national newspapers.
Additional perks include board and conference room access, printing services, video production and editing, a cafeteria discount, gym access, shipping services and free, accessible parking.
The panelists at the February preview weighed in on the importance of the incubator.
“Austin has always had the unique advantage being located in the middle of the country,” said panelist, Rudy Garza, founder and manager of G-51 Capital Management LLC. “From the get-go, we have known to how to collaborate. Coastal cities like San Francisco and Boston are highly proprietary. Collaboration helps you move farther faster.”
Another panelist, Stephen Kreher, Austin Chamber of Commerce senior director of economic development, said Austin continually ranks #1 for startups and entrepreneurship.
“We have the talent, the educational system and the business climate, with low regulation and low taxes,” Kreher said. “It’s incredible that Concordia has dedicated a space like this. It was intentional and strategic.”
“At the Chamber, we don’t have to sell Austin, but we serve as advocates for businesses. We are very excited about this,” said Kreher.
To learn more about the Incubator, go to incubatorctx.com