Over the past several years, the Monadnock Region has become a beehive of entrepreneurial activity. And the Hannah Grimes Center has grown to become a focal point for entrepreneurship in the area, running a business incubator program, providing workshops to hone business skills, and offering services to businesses and nonprofits alike.
To meet growing demand, we are renovating the second floor of our 25 Roxbury Street building and launching an $800,000 capital campaign to fund needed improvements.
What exactly is a business incubator? Business incubation is a process that greatly improves the odds of successful development for start-ups and growing companies by providing entrepreneurs with a range of resources and services. The Hannah Grimes Business Incubator Program brings together affordable office space, high speed internet, a multimedia conference room, and networked color copier with peer-driven learning, networking opportunities, coaching, and technical assistance. We provide a space that fosters innovation and focus on your business, and emphasize business skills education and accountability for planning and growing your business.
Investments in business incubator programs pay off. About 80% of all new businesses fail in the first five years. At Hannah Grimes, over 80% succeed. And they pay wages 14% higher than the county average. Businesses participating in Hannah Grimes’ Business Incubator Program have grown their revenue 29% (2011), 44% (2012), and 297% (2013). In 2013, Business Incubator Program tenants employed 13 people and generated $1.9 million in revenues. Since 2008 the number of businesses in the region seeking business support from Hannah Grimes has increased tenfold.
Hannah Grimes purchased the 25 Roxbury Street building in 2007. Quickly, the modest offices available on the second floor were filled. Renovation of the lower floor, completed in 2011, added 18 new small business/incubator offices. This space is already near capacity. Renovating the second floor, where the Business Incubator Program got its start, will maximize our ability to serve a greater number of start-ups, growing businesses, and entrepreneurs. The renovation includes:
- 8 new second floor offices for start-ups, small businesses and nonprofit organizations
- A large meeting/conference space (for up to 70 people)
- Improvements that will connect the main floor with the second floor
- Exterior updates on the Roxbury Street side of the building
- Improved handicapped access
- Increased energy efficiency
Nationally, 100% of net new job growth comes from companies less than five years old. In Cheshire County, start-ups and new businesses grew job creation 78.8% year over year (2011-2012 – the most recent available data) and grew sales 48% in the same period. Given that job creation and sales were flat or decreasing for more mature businesses in our county, support for new and growing businesses is absolutely vital for our regional economy.
We are excited to be able to expand and have commitments for well over $500,000. We are now raising funds for the balance. Construction begins September 15, 2014 and will be completed in January, 2015. For more information about Hannah Grimes renovation project, visit www.hannahgrimes.com/25-roxbury-renovation.