DIXON – The Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street is getting closer to hatching a prospective start-up in its business incubator.
After Main Street merged with the Chamber and moved into 87 S. Hennepin Ave., the group decided to create a business incubator in its office at 115 S. Hennepin Ave., its home since 1993.
The purpose of the incubator program is to give space and guidance to an aspiring business owner as well as preparation to go out, find a new location and be successful.
"We're like mama birds; we want to prepare them to fly from the nest," said Stacey Colledge, Chamber Main Street's president and CEO.
At least three serious candidates have applied for the space in the past few months, and one was referred to the Small Business Development Center at Sauk Valley Community College, a partner of the program.
The application process includes providing a business plan as well as other details, such as the business’ goals, product information, building needs, investment and commitment, and employees.
"We want to make sure they have a viable business," Colledge said.
The program is providing discounted rent and promoting the business after its stay in the incubator, which could range from a year to 18 months.
Candidates must be new or existing businesses that haven’t operated from a commercial building in the city during the past year, and must be open to the public to provide products or services to walk-in customers.
"It's all in the interest of giving start-up businesses the tools to becoming successful in Dixon," said Scott Brown, a Chamber Main Street board member. "For businesses, there's always the hurdle of cost for the space, so there's that benefit, but a strong component of the program is business development support."
The initial goal was to have the space filled with their first business by the end of the year, but Colledge said there's no strict timeline to finding the right candidate.
"I'd rather have a vacant property than a bad tenant."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application or more information on the Dixon Main Street Incubator Program.
Chamber Main Street, which also includes the Dixon Welcome Center, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.