Fairfield University, in collaboration with the Town of Fairfield Economic Development Department and Kleban Properties, plan a unique business incubator program to help idea makers become successful entrepreneurs at the site of a former Borders Books & Music Store in Fairfield, Connecticut
The shared office space will be located above the Fairfield University Bookstore at 1499 Post Road in Fairfield. Renovations are nearly complete on the 1,300 square foot incubator site, which will feature work cubicles, open, collaborative spaces, and meeting rooms.
The new Fairfield University Accelerator and Mentoring Enterprise will foster local and state economic growth by offering budding innovators the tools they need from guidance and funding to prime downtown office space.
Targeted for a September 2013 launch, AME will feature up to five entrepreneurs chosen by a review board in a competitive selection process. Those selected will be provided with a suite of service that includes shared office space in downtown Fairfield, Conn., courtesy of Kleban Properties. The firms will also receive access to mentors and discounted services, technology resources, workshops, and start-up funding.
“Fairfield University has an obligation to share its resources and its special expertise for the betterment of the community as a whole,” said Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University. “The hope is that these ideas evolve into viable business entities that take root in the region, and the up and coming people behind them develop into tomorrow’s business leaders.”
“Cultivating promising new business ideas will benefit the region and beyond,” said Donald E. Gibson, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School of Business. “It’s a win-win for the community, entrepreneurs, and the University. We encourage people who’d like to see their business plans turned into reality to apply.” The enterprise is another building block of the school’s growing Entrepreneurship Program, which has been fueled by strong student interest in entrepreneurism. “The incubator will in effect serve as an alternative classroom for our students,” Dr. Gibson continued. “I can envision our student Business Plan Competition contenders learning real world lessons there.”
Mark S. Barnhart, director of Community and Economic Development for the Town of Fairfield, added that it is a ‘real win-win’ for everyone involved. “We know that business incubation can be an extremely valuable tool for new business development, and that start-up companies play a significant role in creating jobs and spurring innovation. This is a great opportunity to leverage the enormous talent that we have in this region to stimulate new ideas and to drive economic development.”