Tabor to open incubator
to rev up business startups
Staci Janzen wants Marion County to grow into a hub for startups.
So does Tabor College president David Janzen.
Tabor College will use a $90,000 federal grant to open a business incubator where budding entrepreneurs can take classes, rent space and bounce ideas off each other.
The incubator is scheduled to open in September in the former Tabor welcome center at D and Washington streets in Hillsboro.
“I’m thrilled to work with our students and the community of Marion County,” said assistant professor Staci Janzen, who leads Tabor’s business administration department. “I love rural living in small towns, and I’d like to see them thriving.”
Marion County has economic development programs, but the focus hasn’t been on startups.
Some students already have prototyped and manufactured products, including Upillow, a travel pillow that customers can order with custom school logos, David Janzen said.
The incubator will help prospective entrepreneurs generate ideas and develop pitches. It will offer workshops and speaker series on innovation, design thinking, and entrepreneurship as well as opportunities for mentoring with Tabor faculty and staff.
The rural business development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help support the program through July 31, 2023.
Tabor will have the option to apply again for the grant, which is its intention.
The incubator will have walk-in office hours, and Tabor will put on workshops on topics such as intellectual property and marketing. It also will offer an entrepreneurial experience course for graduate students and people who are interested in it.
By signing up for the class, people will have the chance to rent space at the incubator. The cost will be $550 for eight weeks, and people can renew.
“In the next year, I’d love to see there be multiple startups locally,” David Janzen said.