Business incubators and the economy

Fred Green, LaunchPad FT

Business incubators have their roots in supporting the economy, and we’ve certainly seen that continue in the Launch Pad FT.

Business incubation started back in 1958. A factory closed and put a thousand people out of work in New York. Someone bought that building, broke it up into spaces, and gave people who were out of work somewhere to start a business.

Then they discovered all those people knew their trade, but they didn’t know how to actually run a business. To protect their investment, they started educating them. They trained them in doing the books, business metrics, showed them how to identify their target market, and more.

That was incubator number one. From the beginning, its goal was to make a positive impact in the local community, and it’s still there today.

There are now around 7,000 business incubators worldwide and around 1,300 in the United States. Oklahoma has more than 30 as of today.

For the past four and a half years, I’ve been at one of those 30, a local business incubator in Edmond. The Launch Pad FT is run through Francis Tuttle. Like that first business incubator, our goal is to make a positive impact on the local economy.

So let’s talk about what we’ve done to achieve that. In the four and a half years we’ve been open, we’ve taken roughly 155 applications. Of those, 25 companies have made it into the incubator. Of those 25, nine are now graduates, ten are still there, and six didn’t make it.

Of those nineteen companies that are still around, there are 92 full-time employees, fourteen part-time employees, and four interns. That’s a pretty good workforce, especially when you consider that the payroll for 2017 was $3.8 million. That was money that’s deposited into local banks, and much of it is spent locally.

Those same nineteen companies had $9.5 million in revenue in 2017. Since we’ve been open, we’ve been as high as $12 million in a year, but oil and gas is a bit down. But to have a group of entrepreneurs produce $9.5 million in revenue isn’t bad! That also went into the local economy.

Then the companies have also deposited an additional $1.7 million in investments, loans, and so forth.

All of this is supporting the economy! We definitely have an economic impact. Incubators work.

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