What is the business incubation program?

The St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center’s Incubator Program is a business support program that accelerates the successful development of start-up and established companies by providing business owners and employees with an array of targeted resources and services. Entrepreneurs and small businesses can access resources to connect, support and grow their business. 

 

As a participant in the Incubator Program, you will have access to management guidance, technical assistance and consulting customized to the needs of your growing business. A basic outline of the services and support available to you is summarized in the handbook linked below.

Businesses leasing space in the facility must agree to participate in the Incubator Program. The typical program and lease commitment is 2-3 years with the option of yearly extensions after the initial lease period upon approval by the Incubator Management Committee. Incubator Program clients are required to:

 

  • Meet, at a minimum, quarterly with the Director of the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center to create an action plan, set goals and review performance.

  • Set up an initial consultation with the UW-River Falls Small Business Development Center consultant and follow suggestions regarding additional meetings throughout your occupancy.

  • Meet, as requested, with the Board of Advisors and present (pitch) your business idea and incorporate feedback/act on advice (typically twice per year).

  • Attend, at minimum, one networking event, training session, class or workshop offered by the Innovation Center per year.

  • Respond to electronic survey requests on a timely basis and answer all questions truthfully and accurately including but not limited to information regarding jobs created, jobs retained and capital infusion.

  • Follow all policies outlined in the client handbook and abide by the lease agreement.

  • Utilize specified software program to enter data, upload documents and reply to surveys, as requested.

Admission Criteria

If you feel your company qualifies, please complete the Application. Applications are reviewed by the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center Management Committee, with successful applicants given space on a first-come, first-serve basis, if appropriate space is available. Organizations seeking to rent designated space will be required to sign a lease agreement prior to occupancy. Meeting the criteria does not guarantee space in the incubator or access to services.  The criteria below are used as guidelines for the selection of tenants that best fit the mission of the center. All submitted information will be kept secure and confidential.

 

APPLICANTS MUST:

 

  1. Fill out the online application in its entirety.

  2. Submit a completed business plan including:

    1. Potential markets and their size

    2. Growth potential for each product line

    3. Complete financials and pro forma

    4. Personnel growth and acquisition plan of the next three years

    5. Exit strategies

    6. Economic development potential for the State of Wisconsin

  3. Agree to participate in the Innovation Center’s business assistance programs and to cooperate in achieving the incubation program's mission including regular meetings with the Small Business Development Center business consultant.

  4. Allow the Innovation Center Management Committee to reserve the right to conduct a background check and other due diligence as deemed necessary.

  5. Develop a graduation strategy in conjunction with the Innovation Center Manager and regularly report, as requested, milestones completed and Key Performance Indicators (minimum of annually).

  6. Be prepared to re-locate out of the facility within a reasonable timeframe (typically 2-3 years).

  7. Prove their ability to pay the  monthly rental fee for the intended term of occupancy.

 

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

 

The ideal tenant will have some or all of the following characteristics. However, all tenant applications will be considered.

 

  1. Be an entrepreneur or for-profit business.

  2. Have a product or service that can be commercialized within two years.

  3. Be in the early stages of business development.

  4. Demonstrate strong market potential for new products or services.

  5. Offer potential for significant job creation in the West Central Wisconsin area.

  6. Plan to remain headquartered in West Central Wisconsin.

  7. Locate the office of the President/CEO in the facility.

  8. Be well-suited as a business to benefit from St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center program services, and the business incubator environment.

  9. Have potential for positive economic impact on the community through:

    1. A technology, product or service deemed to have a high potential impact in the marketplace or community;

    2. Potential for rapid company growth and the associated creation of new high paying jobs; and

    3. Positive impact on the tax base of local and state government

  10. Locate business in Wisconsin after graduation.

 

Incubators are generally focused on supporting small, high-potential growth companies. The following industries are not preferred tenants of an incubator facility, but all applications will be considered.

  • Retail (primary)

  • Professional services

  • Daycare

  • Non-profit