Phillipsburg Business Incubator has its first tenant

By EMMA GOSALVEZ

egosalvez@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE – One new startup business space in Centre County, the Philipsburg Business Incubator, has recently acquired its first tenant.

“Philipsburg’s getting a lot of traction, and there’s a lot of good news in the county revolving around entrepreneurship and small business startups,” said Commissioner Mark Higgins at Tuesday morning’s Centre County Commissioners meeting.

The county-supported Phillipsburg Business Incubator, which opened in May, is now home to a sole-proprietor consulting company called Jade A Consulting, Higgins said. The company does consulting for medium- to large- size organizations for their phone systems, along with some IT consulting.

The Phillipsburg incubator space, located at 220 N. Front St. in Phillipsburg in the Dixoncom building, was created with a total of four office units for interested entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the area, and now has three left, but that may soon change.

Higgins added that another company is interested in the incubator space as well.

The new tenant will have a written business plan before year’s end, as one of the requirements of the incubator is that entrepreneurs who do not already have a business plan must have one put together within 90 days of moving into the space.

“We do want you to grow, and we do want you to be hiring employees in Centre County,” said Higgins of entrepreneurs interested in the space.

At the incubator, the listed rental price is $450 per month for a single unit and $550 per month for a two-desk unit. According to Higgins, the county is looking long-term at subsidizing the listed prices at rates of about $200 per month. However, for the remainder of 2016, the county is looking to increase to $399 per month.

Higgins said the monthly rental price includes a fractional receptionist, conference room space, a kitchen, a private lockable office, and any IT consulting the business would need.

Another bonus for entrepreneurs is the flexibility involved with the incubator space, as rent is due on a month-to-month basis.

“If you’re in there for six months and you start to outgrow the space, no problem, make arrangements with Stan LaFuria at the MVEDP [Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership] and move to some larger space,” Higgins said. “If you do it for three months and you’re just not getting any traction and you want to move out, that’s okay, too.”

And there is no shortage of startup business success stories in the Philipsburg area for entrepreneurs looking to get into the startup game there.

Higgins said, for example, one business in Philipsburg TMMData, went from two employees to 25 in a period of about six years. Another, DiamondBack Truck Covers, started with only two Penn State undergraduate students and has grown to 45 employees within 12 years.

Following Higgins’ update on the incubator, the commissioners passed a motion for Commissioner Mike Pipe to approve an agreement between the county and Dixoncom for those who are leasing the space in the Phillipsburg Business Incubator. This would be for the remainder of 2016 and for 2017. The agreement is hold harmless, which means the contract is designed to release one or both parties from legal claims.

In other business, the commissioners:

r Approved a Medical Assistance Transportation Program grant agreement between the county and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. This grant will provide non-emergency medical transportation services to eligible recipients of Medical Assistance. Grant total is $454,009, with 100 percent state funding, for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

r Approved a contract renewal between the county and NHS Pennsylvania to provide mental health family-based services. The total is $21,000, which includes $20,017 state funding and $983 county funding, for the period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

r Approved a contract renewal between the county and Hear, Inc., which will provide for drug and alcohol services, including a halfway house for adult females and adult males. The contract total is estimated at $5,000, with 100 percent state funding, for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

r Approved a contract renewal between the county and Housing Transitions, Inc. The contract provides for emergency housing assistance for drug and alcohol clients. The total of the contract comes to $8,000, with 100 percent state funding, for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.