The X_Factory Business Incubator

Purpose 
  • Purpose

    • To foster innovative start-up companies and to provide guidance to startups in the early stages of business development

    • To draw growing companies to the Middlebury area and as they put down roots,  to grow the tax base and to contribute to the long-term economic stability of the town

    • To create a space for startups and new companies to access resources at reasonable cost that would have been an impediment previously

    • To create a place where VC (Venture Capital) firms and individual investors can network with select companies and invest in them

    • To create a makerspace that will be accessed by the residents of Middlebury and the surrounding area to create community around making while simultaneously allowing tenants of the incubator space to use the resources to grow their businesses

    • To promote innovative individuals who use the makerspace easy access to the incubator so that as they develop a product they can move from maker to entrepreneur

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How the Incubator Works

The concept of a business incubator is one that eliminates or reduces the day-to-day impediments that many young companies face, such as office space, manufacturing/works space, and tools and couples it with general guidance to help businesses thrive in their first years of existence. Given that Middlebury is a very desirable area to live in from the quality of life, strong sense of community, and proximity to Middlebury College, innovative startups looking for both a high quality of living, as well as premises to grow could potentially be attracted to the town if there is a place for them.

 

The building at 1741 Route 7 South, Middlebury, Vermont (the former Connor Homes building) currently is up for sale or lease. Given this, there is a unique opportunity to redevelop the space in a new and innovative way so as to benefit the town and its inhabitants, which is both timely and fiscally prudent. Finding one tenant for a space such as this is not impossible, however, one tenant that is both financially able and in need of a space of this age and size may prove to be difficult. Instead of one company purchasing or leasing the space, it could be redeveloped to fit the need of multiple companies who wish to move to or grow in Middlebury.

 

The X_Factory incubator would be geared towards companies of various sizes from one to two people up through several dozen. This would range from individuals who are looking for office space as they develop a product in the makerspace, to companies that are new and/or growing their businesses, have just finished an initial round of funding or are looking for a place to start scaling up their production.To support all these companies the creation of the X_Factory on the proposed campus would occur with a focus on scalability and flexibility. To stay at the forefront of innovation, best practices will be the driving force behind these decisions so as to maximize frontend investment and to plan for the future as turnover occurs to minimize transitional costs. The space could be configured for both production of physical goods as well as digital products. While turn over is part of the intention of this ventre this turnover would also coincide with scouting or “recruiting” new companies. Additionally, Venture Capital(VC) firms that invest on the frontend will be part of the recruiting mechanism to maintain the space at full capacity.

 

The hub of this redevelopment would be a makerspaces as outlined in the X_Factory Makerspace overview. The reason for this is that as part of the structure of the incubator, the tools and additional resources provided by the makerspace will act as a main draw as part of the services offered by the incubator. Additionally, there will be courses and support offered to those who rent space in the incubator to help them develop the skills necessary for their success. The makerspace will allow for not only technical support, but resources that previously would be an impediment for startup companies such as buying larger scale tools. By mitigating barriers for startups as well as providing support at a reasonable cost, not only will these companies be drawn to the X_Factory, but these services will also act as an incentive. Beyond this, the X_Factory will strive to create a collaborative, comfortable environment that these startup companies would find in any modern technology-oriented company today.

 

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