Succeeding as an innovator is no easy task. Yet every year, entrepreneurs come up with new ideas and processes that may benefit different markets. How can those innovators be nurtured to go from idea to successful business? One approach is the creation of an incubator, a program focused on small business to help them overcome startup hurdles.
Recently, Utah State University Extension in Garfield County, as well as Panguitch City, Utah, received a grant from the Utah Governor’s office of Economic Development to create a rural coworking and innovation center. The center is designed to act as an incubator for small businesses and startups. It will provide a coworking space and equipment for individuals in rural Utah to participate in the remote workforce.
Callie Ward, USU Extension family and consumer sciences assistant professor, explains that creating the innovation center in Garfield County will boost the local economy. “This will allow people who moved away from their rural communities because of work to return to their hometowns. The affordable office space will be a huge draw for entrepreneurs,” she says.
Kitchen upgrade to commercial standards
The Panguitch City administrative office building will be renovated and updated with funds from the grant. One major upgrade will be transforming the kitchen area into a working commercial kitchen, which will provide space for entrepreneurs to create food products to promote local food tourism and online food sales.
Grant funds will also be used to buy printers, copiers and 3D printers to be shared with the Panguitch City Library, which is housed in the same building.
In a prepared statement, state Rep. Carl Albrecht noted, “I’m focused on Utah’s rural economic growth, and as a result sponsored the [Rural Coworking and Innovation Center] bill this past legislative session. We hope these grant programs will make a difference in job creation in rural Utah.”
Renovations on the Panguitch City facility begin soon, with the innovation center expected to open in 2020. Learn more about USU Extension programs at extension.usu.edu.