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City and college focus on supporting startup businesses

Posted: May 28, 2014 3:45 p.m.
Updated: May 28, 2014 3:45 p.m.

Designed to house specific kinds of startup companies that complement the region’s growing entertainment industry, the downtown Newhall incubator being launched by the city of Santa Clarita and College of the Canyons is expected to open in October, said an official with the city.

“We’re looking for startups that are compatible with our existing industries,” said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager for the city. “We are specifically looking for businesses in the creative industries – film or video-internet-graphics work web design, video game design.”

Within the region, core industries include digital media and film, medical devices, information technology, aerospace and defense and advanced manufacturing.

Startups in the creative arena align perfectly with the city’s target industry of film, entertainment and technology, Crawford said.

“Those are the types of businesses we’ve seen where folks with one or two guys create an idea and business around it, and then take over larger spaces and hire,” he said.

The hope is to place a half-dozen business startups there that will have 24/7 access and high-speed Internet, so the startup owners can focus on building their concept, their idea and their business with many free resources at their fingertips. The longer-term goal is for businesses to be able to graduate from the incubator into a professional office space, and even hopefully hire employees, after a year to 18 months, he said.

Included in the resources available to the startups will be people from the local Small Business Development Center and the economic development division at College of the Canyons.

“They’ll offer specialized resources to any of the businesses that go into the incubator,” Crawford said, “It may be help developing a marketing plan or business plan and offering experts that can help identify customer markets or trends. There will be a whole program of resources that businesses in the incubator will be able to take advantage of.”

To help identify and recruit startup owners, the plan is to use outreach efforts at the local colleges like COC, CalArts and The Master’s College, as well as the SCV Startup group and folks who have been bringing their business ideas to the SBDC, he said.

In the next couple months, a team will work to identify the businesses that can benefit from the incubator.

Using property the city already owned, the old Newhall library, the city is still working on re-construction to update the building, bring it up to standard to meet codes like the Americans with Disabilities Act and connect the old building to the sewer system, as it originally was on a septic tank system.

“The construction should wrap up sometime this summer,” Crawford said.


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