Ready to start a business? Let’s talk funding  

Gina Bertoletti

It seems a well-known statistic that 50 percent of new business will fail in the first five years. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? Business incubators like the one at Moore Norman Technology Center are turning the tide in favor of business start-ups. There are many vulnerabilities that can blindside a new business owner: lack of experience, poor inventory control, or weak accounting practices, to name a few. To prevent business failure, business incubators are fighting back to lower that rate.

“Business incubators have a singular purpose. They foster an environment which enhances the chances of success for entrepreneurs. Incubators have become a game-changer as they surround start-ups with invaluable resources essential to the lifeblood of the business,” said Moore Norman Technology Center Business Development Center Coordinator Gina Bertoletti.

She said part of the value each client receives at MNTC is the incubator manager who acts as an accountability partner. They help their clients set business and financial milestones, help them achieve their goals, and create an awareness of blind spots.

“It’s important to be among other entrepreneurs who are experiencing the same business and growth challenges. The long work weeks required to successfully launch a business can often be accompanied by a sense of isolation,” Bertoletti said.

She said another notable benefit of being an incubator client is the sense of community within the building. Encouragement maybe found in abundance inside the walls of most incubators as the clients support one another while sharing ideas, experiences and resources.

Networking opportunities also add to the list of benefits, as connecting with the right people and building relationships with those who can help you cross the finish line is a win for everyone. Incubator managers are often networked well within their community and know how to get their clients in front of key players.

Access to a network of service providers is another value. This access shortens the amount of time new business owners spend looking for resources. Bertoletti said for incubator clients, time is their most valuable resource and so spending it productively is imperative. She added that in an era of entrepreneurship, where free or low-cost resources are plentiful, connecting with the right resources can keep expenses down.

A new business can also benefit from incubation by taking advantage of the low-cost space and fully furnished offices. “Our BDC is set up in a way that allows business owners to simply bring in their laptops, plug in and go. There is plenty of shared space such as conference rooms, a business/copy room and most importantly, there is always plenty of coffee.

So, how does one become part of an incubator program? Each incubator has its own requirements; however, to find a list of incubators in Oklahoma go to okcommerce.gov. Here you will find a list of certified incubators, which is important to ensure the business is eligible to claim the state tax exemption. In addition, most incubators will require a business plan.

According to the Small Business Association, Oklahoma small businesses employed 52% of the state’s workforce.

“What we hope for each of our business clients is that they flourish, hire Oklahomans and as a result, grow our economy,” Bertoletti said. “It is an exciting time to be a business start-up. Perhaps in time, that well known statistical number reflecting business failures will be replaced with a shining success rate.”

To learn more about MNTC’s Business Development Center or for a free consultation about your small business being a good match visit mntc.edu/bdc or call 405-801-5890.