LINC Business Incubator
The Business Incubation is a 3 year business training program for existing or start-up businesses that need to learn business management and principles to be sustainable. One component of the incubator program is lease space offered at below market rate so the business can focus on best business practices.
For Kristian Grant, the opportunity to join LINC’s Business Incubator arrived as she faced a big choice about her connection to our community. “I was at a point where I needed a reason to stay in Grand Rapids. I needed something to hold me here,” she explains.
After learning about the Business Incubator, which includes below-market rent, flexible leases, and start-up support from LINC staff and partners, Grant knew she had found her reason to stay. “I feel like I could go to Chicago and try to be the next Oprah, or I could stay in Grand Rapids and be the first Kristian… I like to be a groundbreaker, so this was a good opportunity to do that.”
Because of LINC’s holistic approach, the program is about much more than traditional economic development. It has revitalized a visible corner of the Madison Square neighborhood, provides space for neighbors to connect, and helps entrepreneurs to grow roots in the community.
Grant considers her business, Sydney’s Boutique, the start of her legacy in West Michigan. “I want to put my time and my efforts to something that will last long after I’m gone,” she says. “I want to show my daughter that she can be a person that builds something that’s able to last for a long time.”
Other business owners in the program’s inaugural class share the hope of creating a lasting impact. “Being able to be my own boss allows me to be to have so many different contacts with so many different people,” says Israel Johnson, owner of the barbershop Klipper Kingdom. “It’s good to have so many different things going on, being able to put a smile on somebody’s face. It’s good to be able to give back and see people enjoy what you have to offer. That’s what I love about my job.”
In less than a year, the Business Incubator successfully helped eight entrepreneurs start their business, which has already resulted in 40 new jobs. The goal is that after three years of reduced rent and entrepreneurial guidance, the businesses will outgrow their space, and new business owners will set up shop.