The Idaho Innovation Center is a business incubator based in Idaho Falls. It offers discounted office space for lease and technology and training resources to small businesses and startups in Eastern Idaho.
Bryan Magleby, executive director of the center, is a business consultant and executive coach. In addition to consulting, Magleby has been a business owner and entrepreneur for two decades. He recently talked to the Post Register about what the center can offer local businesses.
East Idaho Business Journal: What is the Idaho Innovation Center?
Bryan Magleby: The IIC is a business incubator providing resources to small fledgling companies where entrepreneurs can confidently and aggressively start and grow their small businesses through collaboration, education, mentoring and shared resources. Tenants can expect to pay about 75 percent of the average cost of rental spaces in the area their first year. This number increases during their stay at the IIC. Tenants that are innovating their business stay for up to five years and businesses that are incubating their businesses are allowed to be at the IIC for up to three years. The current campus has four main buildings that include 63 rent-able spaces with 35 offices, 16 bays, four labs and eight cubicles.
EIBJ: You say that the IIC brings large business resources to small businesses. What exactly does that mean? Why are large business resources good for small businesses?
BM: The national average is that over 90 percent of businesses fail within the first five years. The IIC focuses on setting businesses up to succeed. The IIC does this in multiple ways. We take away stress by handling things like access to copy machines, internet access, postage machines, fax machines as well as assistance with shipping services. We have a front desk attendant that will lead visitors to their suite and even answer calls if needed. We provide multiple training programs throughout the year from business basic fundamentals to intense college level type courses focusing on “Growing their Business.”
EIBJ: What qualities are common in new tenants? Is there a type of business that you work with more often than others?
BM: New tenants are generally building a business from the ground up. The owner is looking for an inexpensive space to start. Starting a small business is basically about setting up shop, finding clients and earning money. Tenants of the IIC are able to do this more quickly because of the shared services as well as the mentoring that is available through their strategic partners including the Idaho Small Business Development Center and Service Corp of Retired Executives. I meet directly with each of the tenants whenever is needed to focus on taking their business to the next level. Many of the tenants meet weekly with me for accountability purposes to focus on working “on” their business instead of “in” it. The IIC focuses on attracting two specific clients to be tenants. First is innovative tenants or businesses that are focusing on items that are patentable — ideas that are forward thinking in a new area or making an existing product stronger, faster or better in some way. Second is incubating tenants or businesses that are in their infant stages (under three years) and need assistance in taking their business to the next level.
EIBJ: What can a business gain from the training resources you offer? Is this training for business owners or employees or both?
BM: The IIC offers a variety of classes, workshops, networking opportunities and one-on-one counseling for business owners and employees. Vital business knowledge such as business management, financial strategies, marketing and selling business, networking opportunities with other small business owners. Classes can benefit both the owner as well as employees in most instances.
EIBJ: Are there clients you’ve worked with that you’re particularly proud of? Are there partnerships that never come to fruition? If so, why don’t they succeed?
BM: ACF (Advanced Ceramic Fibers) was given the award for “Early Stage Innovation of the Year” for the state of Idaho in 2015 (by the Idaho Technology Council). Chapolera Coffee recently expanded to a retail location as well as wholesale distribution. And Healthy Home Environmental is in the process of franchising their operation. Not all businesses will be successful. A small business owner wears many hats and it is difficult to try to do it all in business. Business owners can be their own worst enemy. They can be stubborn and set on how they want to do business and it may not work. Another reason is that there may not be enough demand for the product or service being offered. Or there may be too much competition in the same area. Poor financial management can quickly destroy a business. Business owners who do not plan for the future can unknowingly weaken a business.
EIBJ: What should a small business do to get started with the Innovation Center?
BM: Call 208-523-1026 for an appointment or stop by 2300 N. Yellowstone Highway. Although we operate at a 95 percent or more occupancy, we can get businesses on a waiting list when spaces open up to fit their needs.
Source: The Associated Press