Business, incubators, launch pads and pop-ups

Creative ways to launch a new business toward success.

Entrepreneurs know it’s tough to get started, and breaking into a new market can be a hard sell. The good news is, options are “popping up” all over to help alleviate some of those initial growing pains and launch a new business toward success.

Business incubators offer a guiding hand through the process of starting a business through operating the first few years. Incubators are designed to give credibility to their tenants by using advisory boards of seasoned business professionals, government officials, and economic organizations like Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance. An added bonus to the advisory support generally comes in the form of a tiered rent schedule to allow the new business to focus on initial startup costs.

Business Launch Pads focus on the rent schedule to send new businesses toward success. A typical rent schedule will take an increasing percentage of fair market value over the course of three or more years. For example, if fair market value on a space is $900 per month, a launch pad might charge $300 per month for the first year, $600 per month for the second year and full value the third year. After the full increase in rent, businesses can stay on at market value, or move on to bigger and better plans with secure footing from their first few years of business experience.

If a business sees itself as a more seasonal or temporary opportunity, they may seek out a pop up space. Pop up spaces provide smaller spaces and shorter rental time frames, generally monthly or quarterly. Pop up businesses can consist of anything from a full commercial space, to a window or shelf display in an existing business. The trick with pop ups is to work closely with local government to be sure the building types and transient leases meet municipal codes. Northern Michigan community, The Village at Walloon plays host to 14 seasonal pop up shops, adding variety to local shopping options and serving as a testing ground for burgeoning entrepreneurs.

If you are interested in how an incubator, launch pad, or pop up space could help your downtown, contact your local DDA or economic development group.

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.” 

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