Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Summerville will have its own startup incubator this October but it will need help from local entrepreneurs to fulfill its mission.
Harbor Entrepreneur Center has announced plans to open a site at 402 N. Main St. in Summerville. The center currently operates out of Mount Pleasant, and this would be the first of a few additional centers the center plans to open around the Charleston area, according to Director John Osborne.
“We know entrepreneurs don’t just live in Mount Pleasant and they also don’t have to show up anywhere they don’t want to,” Osborne said. “We knew the geography of the area wouldn’t lend itself to one single center. We knew if we had landing zones and these sites spread across the region we would be able to draw more of them out and then we could connect the sites to each other.”
The incubator seeks to link entrepreneurs together to bolster the business climate and provide support for startups. There is no membership fee, but some activities have a cost.
“The center is very simple. We have one core mission and that is to create a coalition among entrepreneurs,” Osborne said.
“Most entrepreneurs are not involved in just one business. They create them, they start them, they get them going, but then they’re off to another project. And so what we know is, if we get entrepreneurs playing at a high level with other capable people, more often they’re going to create more businesses in the region that otherwise wouldn’t happen.”
Right now, as the center awaits opening in October, Osborne said he’s looking for entrepreneurs to volunteer their time to help startups.
“The biggest thing we need to do in Summerville to get going is connect with the entrepreneurs who have built companies from the ground up to 20-employee operations in the Summerville area,” Osborne said. “As soon as we have a critical mass of entrepreneurs we can open up different programing for startup companies in Summerville.”
“Critical mass” would be 15 committed business owners, he added.
The incubator will also offer co-working space for startup companies and remote workers. Cost for leasing space will be $275 per month, and lessees can operate out of any of the Harbor’s sites.