Week 14: The Kemptville Business Incubator & Investment Centre

Business incubator 3

Photos courtesy of the Kemptville Business Incubator’s Facebook page

Have you got an idea for a new business or service but you’re not sure how to get it off the ground?  Have no fear – the Kemptville Business Incubator and Investment Centre is here!

Headquartered at Cowork Junction, the Kemptville Business Incubator provides a unique opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and make them a reality.  Much of the planning process is centred around the Incubator’s weekly TGIF, which takes place every Friday night at 13 Clothier Street (second floor).  The atmosphere of the TGIFs is informal and collaborative.  “They are a lot like a university seminar,” says Sarah Meharg, President of the Incubator.  “People throw out ideas and suggestions to help refine a project.”  Sarah explains that the Incubator events make effective use of crowd-sourcing; people present their business challenges and get real solutions from the other participants.

So, how does it work?  

Business incubator 2

Photos courtesy of the Kemptville Business Incubator’s Facebook page.

The TGIF events give people a taste for what the Incubator has to offer. When businesses and entrepreneurs want to become a part of the Incubator, they pitch their idea to the Executive to ensure a spirit of collaboration, cohesiveness, and “stick-to-it-ness”. Once given the green light, business owners are put through a series of strategic systems guided by experts and built by crowd-sourced local service providers.

Let’s say you invent a robot dog walker and you want to get it to market fast.  The Incubator matches you with a web writer, web designer, graphic designer, and social media expert to build your website and online content.  Materials and packaging are sourced out, as well as distribution channels and shipping methods.  Ideally, you’d go from having a prototype to selling your product within 30-90 days.  Everyone who contributes to a venture is a shareholder, so when you start to turn a profit, they do too.  “The payoff is that you get to the market first and fast, which is key in this economy,” Sarah says.

Who’s behind the Business Incubator?

Originally from Markham, John and Sarah Meharg spent 12 years working in international development overseas.  They’ve helped impoverished towns and cities in war-torn countries develop healthy economies.  With that experience in hand, the couple moved back to Canada when their daughter was born four years ago, and wanted to apply their international economic development skills closer to home.

Business incubator 1

Photos courtesy of the Kemptville Business Incubator’s Facebook page.

When researching potential locations for the Incubator, the couple set their sights on Kemptville.  “We’ve met a lot of really open and positive people,” says John.  “It’s a welcoming town for newcomers.”  Though they’ve settled their family just outside of Kemptville, the couple has the feeling that there will be a lot more Kemptville in their future!

What’s next?

 Sarah and John are all about community development with a charitable twist.  They want to give back to the community as they help to build it.  And do you know what else?  They want it to be fun, too!

If you’re interested in learning more, the best way to do so is by attending TGIFs on Friday nights from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at 13 Clothier Street (second floor).  If you check out The Kemptville Business Incubator and Investment Centre’s Facebook page, you’ll find out more about the TGIFs, as well as enjoy posts and information related to building a profitable business in Canada.

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