Hatching a business plan

Plans for a business incubator in Vancouver are taking shape

Statistics show that only 20 percent of all businesses remain in operation five years after they start. However, when a company is supported by a business incubator, its chance of surviving beyond five years increases to 87 percent.

Development of a business incubator to serve Vancouver start-ups is gaining momentum. As the city begins to look at ways to continue revitalizing its downtown and surrounding urban centers, advocates of the project say a business incubator will improve the city’s business environment.

“The purpose of an incubator is to provide knowledge and support to business start-ups,” said Lisa Pletcher Clark College Executive Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. “Business incubators become economic drivers, they create jobs and they also accelerate the growth of local businesses. And they retain businesses in the local community, because the businesses are able to thrive.”

The VHA has been designated as a Public Development Authority charged with encouraging business investment and revitalization in several areas of the city; its initial focus is on Fourth Plain Boulevard.

Creager said the Fourth Plain area is an ideal location for a business incubator. He said the corridor is already a naturally functioning incubator, as it attracts start-ups because of its central location and affordability.

An incubator would benefit more than just Fourth Plain, and could be well suited in other areas of the city, said Creager.

The project could likely start on a virtual level and transition into a brick and mortar building as funding and needs allow, said Creager.

“The key is to have the right resources and ingredients in place surrounding the business to nurture it and get it off the ground,” said Pletcher.

Wallace said the Vancouver area ranks high in the state for its number of business start-ups.

Pletcher said it is clear the revenue and jobs produced by incubator businesses have a positive impact on the community.

Pletcher said the concept could move forward very quickly, and once feasible options and partners are identified, it could be open within a year.