The Ketchum Community Development Corp. will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a business incubator called the Ketchum Innovation Center on Thursday, March 6, at 4 p.m. The new facility is located at 100 Lindsay Circle.
Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas will cut the ribbon at the ceremony, while the CDC will showcase the three-story facility designed to accommodate 16-18 people.
“We have the intellectual capital and the entrepreneurs that want to collaborate,” CDC Executive Director Jon Duval said. “We’re bringing a hub and a facility to support entrepreneurs and startups. For this incubator, we’re looking at bringing in small companies of one to three people that have innovative ideas and people who want to be in a creative environment where there’s a collective energy of people that want to work together.”
Duval said he contacted business incubators in various areas, including Telluride and Aspen, Colo., along with three in Boise. He said those experiences of consulting with others on what makes a business incubator successful allowed him to explain the benefits of creating one to the Ketchum City Council.
During a Jan. 20 meeting, the City Council voted to provide the CDC with $28,000 to help start the incubator after Rick LaFaivre, former vice president of advanced technologies at Apple, voiced strong support for the plan.
“Over the past 15 years as a venture incubator, I’ve seen the power of what happens when this is done right,” LaFaivre said. “My sense here is that it would be very difficult to attract the capital for a profit incubator at this time. When you think about businesses that are being incubated, this becomes more of a community resource, a place for entrepreneurs, investors and mentors to meet.”
“It’s an amazing, one-of-a-kind facility.”
CDC executive director
Duval said LaFaivre has been highly supportive of the incubator, and has played a major role in the development of its plans for future mentorship and investment.
The 4,700-square-foot facility features a top floor with a conference room with a projection system that will be open to the public. The second floor is considered the main floor, with open desk space for up to eight people along with offices that can hold two or three people. On the ground floor, there will be cubicles for six to eight people along with a garage space.
In addition, there will also be a kitchen, locker room, shower, and a washer and dryer.
“It’s an amazing, one-of-a-kind facility,” Duval said. “Nothing I’ve seen comes close to the quality we have in there.”
Duval said he hopes the facility becomes a stepping stone for growing businesses, as they eventually can outgrow the incubator and expand operations.
“We want to support these businesses so they can grow and add jobs,” Duval said. “Once they reach a certain point, they can graduate out of there and continue to expand.”