Cherney Microbiological Services, Ltd., a nationally-known testing laboratory, has agreed to become the first anchor tenant of the Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center.
Scheduled for groundbreaking in early 2011 near Owen, the Center will be a multi-purpose facility that will serve as a business incubator for emerging companies in agribusiness, renewable energy, biotechnology, food processing and related industries.
Cherney Microbiological (www.cherneymicro.com) is a contract laboratory specializing in microbiological testing and technical support for companies manufacturing dairy, paper, meat, vegetable, cosmetic, personal care, and industrial cleaning products.
Founded in 1989, the business began in the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Small Business Incubator Complex. While there, Cherney Microbiological expanded several times and became the anchor tenant.
"Since our business began in a business incubator, we firmly believe in the mission of the Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center," says company founder and president Debra M. Cherney. "We feel good about being part of the Center, because we've seen how a facility like this can help entrepreneurs start businesses and create jobs."
Cherney plans to construct a new testing laboratory in the Center, initially encompassing 4,000 square feet with possible expansion to 6,000 total square feet. The facility will bring approximately 10-15 jobs to Owen, subject to successful negotiation of a tenant agreement.
"Having an anchor tenant such as Cherney Microbiological brings national exposure to our project and helps sustain it," says Rebecca Baumann, CWAIC's executive director. "It is also one more indication that this region is serious about business development in its core industry, agriculture, and that it is planning for the future."
A non-profit organization, CWAIC is partnering with the City of Owen, its Community Development Authority and the Clark County Economic Development Corporation to raise approximately $5.8 million to construct the building. The Center will contain incubator and laboratory space, a distance learning center, public meeting and event space, a computer lab, offices for lease, a commercially-licensed test/classroom kitchen and multiple "smart" classrooms. The building itself will be a learning tool, using sustainable design concepts for both the Innovation Center and its surrounding site, the 71-acre Clark County Agribusiness Park.
The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration has already awarded a $4 million grant toward the project. The city is currently constructing sewer and water services to the agribusiness park.
Additional information about the Central Wisconsin Agribusiness Innovation Center and the Clark County Agribusiness Park can be found at www.agribusinessinnovation.org.