The Launch Pad Francis Tuttle Business Incubator is running ahead of schedule at the new Francis Tuttle Business Innovation Center, said Fred Green, executive director.
The 38,000-square-foot building stands near the northeast corner of Covell Road and Interstate 35. Doors opened earlier this month at the center, 2824 Progressive Drive.
Business incubation is a 12-36 month process with the intention of a business becoming sustainable, Green said. Five resident clients and one non-resident client are established at the Launch Pad Francis Tuttle site. The Business Incubator has three remaining offices to fill with 14 applications.
A SCORE resource office is also on campus. SCORE is a national nonprofit that partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Business entrepreneurs may receive mentoring and training through more than 11,000 volunteers representing 340 chapters in the U.S.
The Department of Commerce notes there is an 80 percent failure rate in new businesses. However, the National Business Incubation Association reports 87 percent of all firms that have graduated from their incubators are still in business after the first five years.
Individuals enter the incubation knowing they will not survive in business until they identify the constraints of creating their business. They have to offer a viable service with a solid business plan.
“Take my inventor, for instance. He came in with (50) products — didn’t have a clue what to do with them that he’s invented — and he now has patents on two,” Green said.
The inventor, Brian Gibson, has created a business model that is workable with his company Simpliuniik Inc., Green said. Two of his products are already being manufactured.
“The goal by the end of the year is to get additional orders for those,” said Gibson, 31.
One of products, the Seally Cap, is a silicone product that helps preserve food and beverages in open containers. The cap is useful for can sizes ranging from a small energy drink to a large can of dog food, he said.
“It’s made out of silicone so it can stretch over a wide range of those products,” Gibson said. “It has a dome-shaped design on top. Once you put it on the can, you press on the dome. That presses the air out and creates a vacuum.”
The second product is called a Kooze Kube, which serves as an ice cube to put in the bottom of a Kooze. It builds a dome-shaped void at the bottom of a canned beverage.
“The market is so huge that we’re going to focus on the beer industry,” Gibson said. “Basically, it keeps your beer colder for a longer period of time.”
Gibson and his wife, Christi, have a 4-year-old son, Ryder, who lives with spina bifida. Friday was Spina Bifida Awareness Day. Gibson credits his son for giving him the inspiration to invent his products.
Ryder uses a wheel chair, so his dad also has designed a line of mobility toys for children with disabilities. The market for disability toys for children is small, he added.
“The idea is to create a company that can fund a division to launch those toys to where parents can purchase those at cost,” Gibson said. “It’s hard to be able to afford that stuff if you’re already having to pay for a lot of other things.”
TO LEARN MORE about Simpliuniik, visit the company’s website at http://www.simpliuniik.com.