Jon Milos says Tuesday’s announcement of a new incubator intended to attract and cultivate entrepreneurs is a “dream come true” that has been 20 years in the making.
Startup Sarnia-Lambton, which is now part of a national network of similar incubators, is housed in space at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park and the “door is open,” says Milos, director of Entrepreneurship at Lambton College.
He and Anja Christensen, who teaches business at Lambton College, are leading the local effort, but several other organizations besides the Research Park are part of the collaboration. They include the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.
The new hub was created in recognition of the gap in services for entrepreneurs in the region. Lambton College’s Applied Research & Innovation department led the development of the application for funding of the new hub.
“We want businesses to recognize that Sarnia-Lambton is the right place to start and grow a business,” says Milos. “When you combine the resources and facilities of the college with our passionate community partners, there are a hundred reasons why it’s a great time to start a business in the region.”
Milos says Startup Sarnia-Lambton is meant to provide entrepreneurs with a singular source for news, events, resources, and a place to work together and connect.
The new service will concentrate on accelerating the growth and success of start-ups and early-stage companies so they can bring viable products and ideas to market.
Services available to clients of Startup Sarnia-Lambton will include: opportunities to develop and assess business ideas, evaluate technical ideas by prototyping and testing, obtain access to start-up funding and investments, network building, access to skilled mentors, and the ability to connect to local, provincial and global resources. The hub will also offer free working spaces for entrepreneurs as part of its support services.
Milos says the local incubator is open to all members of the community and the organization will act as a key provider of tools and services for young entrepreneurs, encouraging them to think beyond the status quo and traditional career paths.
“We really want our organization to challenge and assist start-ups and new businesses to bring their ideas to life, in a spirit of entrepreneurship that will invigorate the regional economy,” says Milos.
The Startup Sarnia-Lambton website is at www.startupsarnialambton.ca.
Startup Sarnia-Lambton has joined Startup Canada, a national movement recognized globally as a best practice in fuelling grassroots entrepreneurship.
“To build a nation synonymous with innovation, entrepreneurship and social progress, every entrepreneur, every community and every community leader has a role to play in supporting local startups and small businesses,” says Victoria Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Startup Canada.