FDLTCC unveils Small Business Incubator initiativeThanks to a new Small Business Incubator program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, “the office” is right at the fingertips of student entrepreneur Don Liimatainen.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Thanks to a new Small Business Incubator program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, “the office” is right at the fingertips of student entrepreneur Don Liimatainen.
A sophomore at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Liimatainen operates his Ablaze Custom Cleaning business from the school’s new business incubator center, which officially celebrated its grand opening on Monday in space adjacent to the school’s second floor business faculty offices.
With the facilities and services the new incubator space provides, Liimatainen has convenient access to fax, telephone, Internet, photocopying and printing services to help get his new business off the ground. In addition, the program offers enterprising students and community members such as Liimatainen the benefit of professional counseling and advice on such topics as business startups, putting together a business plan and related issues they might be facing in getting their new business endeavors off the ground.
“We also have the benefit of some 40-50 business students right here on campus for additional assistance and input,” said Bryan Jon Maciewski, faculty member at FDLTCC. “If someone wants to conduct a customer market survey, for example, the students can provide assistance in helping to plan and carry it out.”
The school’s new business incubator center has desk space and facilities for four separate tenants, who can access the space for up to six months.
“We want to make this Small Business Incubator available to everyone in the community, not just students,” clarified Maciewski. “After all, we are a community college, and we’re focused on helping out the entire community through this endeavor.”
Maciewski said he is also working with the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund to make its “Core Four” business plan writing course accessible to budding business owners, as well as working to tap into area business property owners and realtors to seek out low-cost rental space for new businesses as they move beyond the incubator phase of their operations.
Monday’s official opening of the college’s new small business incubator initiative signaled the start of a week-long recognition of National Entrepreneurship Week, organized by students, faculty and staff in the school’s business degree programs and the American Indian Business Leaders student organization.
On Tuesday, local bankers from Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank were on campus to discuss small business loans, financing and lending practices with up-and-coming business men and women. Wednesday’s programming featured FDLTCC’s business department courses and recent degree program developments, in addition to the school’s associate/bachelor degree program offered in cooperation with Bemidji State University.
An all-you-can-eat spaghetti fund raiser was set for Thursday night at 5 p.m. to help raise funds for the American Indian Business Leaders Club, who will send a six-member team to take part in the National Business Plan Writing Competition in Las Vegas, Nev., April 6-10. Maciewski said FDLTCC has placed competitively in the event for the past four years, going up against much larger four-year schools.
Friday’s event at the college will focus on the successful Kaffiend’s Korner coffee shop, operated by students in the business degree program. The day will feature special drawings and offers at the on-campus coffee shop.
This year’s observance of National Entrepreneurship Week at FDLTCC marked the second such celebration across the United States. In June 2006, Congress passed a resolution focused on continuing the creative efforts of entrepreneurs and small businesses as the leading creators of new jobs over the past decade.
For more information about the Small Business Incubator at FDLTCC, contact Sara Montgomery at 218-879-0874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pine Journal Publisher/ reporter Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: email@example.com.