Fairfield to Incubate New Businesses
Fairfield University, in collaboration with the Town of Fairfield Economic Development Department and Kleban Properties, announces a unique business incubator program to help idea makers become successful entrepreneurs and business owners. The new Fairfield University Accelerator and Mentoring Enterprise (FAME) will foster local and state economic growth by offering budding innovators the tools they need – from guidance to funding to prime downtown office space – to turn their ideas into realities.
Targeted for a September 2013 launch, FAME 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 services that includes shared office space in downtown Fairfield, Conn., courtesy of Kleban Properties; access to mentors and discounted services; technology resources; workshops; and start-up funding.
Mentoring from Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business and School of Engineering faculty, and the area’s robust business community will be a key component, providing educational workshops and other programs to help with ideation, valuation, and competitive analysis. 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. Once the FAME space is completed, a series of Open House events will be held on site for sponsors, advisors, state agencies, and the general public to get an advance look at the facility. An on-site ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony is scheduled for early September.
Entrepreneurs from the community who have a business plan they would like to develop are encouraged to apply to be a part of this incubator, where innovative ideas will be encouraged through networking, support services, and learning. For sponsorship and application information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply on-line, visit www.fairfield.edu/ame.
“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.”
The project speaks to the state of Connecticut’s interest in accelerators and innovation centers that are providing supportive communities and space for young start-ups to grow. Entrepreneurial firms make up a significant part of the American economy and are a generator of new job creation.
The enterprise comes at a time when the study of entrepreneurship is growing at Fairfield. The Dolan School’s Entrepreneurship Program has been fueled by strong student interest. An initiative in the Department of Management, it is developing students’ capacity in entrepreneurship, including new courses, a concentration within management, and a new entrepreneurship minor, available to all Fairfield students.
This fall, the third annual Business Plan Competition will get underway, open to all Fairfield University undergraduates. The second annual contest featured Dolan School students and School of Engineering students working together to develop promising products and business plans with the guidance of faculty (see photograph).