Queen Creek is used to growing crops. But now, the town hopes to grow businesses organically.
Town officials hope to develop a business incubator, an entity that supports entrepreneurs with mentoring and materials as new ventures get off the ground, said Doreen Cott, economic development director.
Cott is seeking a $10,000 matching grant from the state to study the feasibility of opening such a facility in Queen Creek.
She said an incubator could help enhance the town’s entrepreneurial climate and diversify the local economy.
“All businesses start somewhere, and maybe there’s a great idea someone’s working on out of their home or garage,” Cott said. “If we could help bring them to the next level, that would be great.”
Incubators are generally formed as partnerships with academic institutions, financial partners and legal partners, Cott said. They generally focus on certain types of businesses, like high-tech, manufacturing or service-oriented businesses.
Incubators usually offer low-cost rent, office equipment, legal counseling and other types of services to help fledgling businesses get a solid footing, Cott said.
If Queen Creek wins the Rural Economic Development and Planning Assistance grant, it would study whether this is a good time to open a business incubator. The town would also identify potential partners for the endeavor and determine the types of businesses Queen Creek’s business incubator should support, Cott said. The grant application is due Jan. 11, and the money must be used by July.
If the grant is not received, the town may conduct a study on a smaller scale, she said.
If Queen Creek does open a business incubator, it will be the second one in the East Valley.
Chandler is currently spending $5.7 million to convert an old Intel research and development site into an incubator for high-tech businesses. The Innovations Technology Incubator/Accelerator is expected to open May 1.
Cott said it’s too early to tell when Queen Creek could potentially open its own incubator or what it would cost.
“We would want it to move forward as quickly as possible just to help businesses as soon as possible,” she said.