The new business incubator based at Bowie State University has accepted its first four startup companies and plans to interview three more applicants soon, according to directors.
Bowie Business Innovation Center, initiated and partly funded by the city of Bowie, is to provide office space and services, such as training, mentoring and networking services, to startup companies that show the potential for growing and creating jobs.
“The Bowie BIC is building an entrepreneurial community in Bowie,” said Executive Director Lisa Smith, during a June 4 update about the program to the Bowie City Council.
“We’re like the yeast that livens the Bowie community,” Smith said.
The incubator currently has nine available office spaces for lease in the space it occupies on the second floor of Bowie State University’s new College of Business building. Resident companies typically lease for a year and affiliate companies can lease space for short periods of time at less cost, said Smith, who said rates are individually negotiated.
Two of the first four startups are resident companies. Clark Training Solutions LLC is owned by a service disabled veteran from Bowie specializing in management and IT training, Smith said, and the second is Magadia Consulting LLC, a home-based, risk-management company owned by a Bowie State University alumna specializing in information assurance. BSS Now, an e-commerce website for military families started by a recent BSU grad, and X-Prop Sports, a minority-owned builder of sports training aids, are the two affiliate companies.
Magadia founder and owner Magdalena Gebrekristos said she worked from her home in Severn for years, mostly with clients in private industry but now because of the recession is looking for new customers.
“My whole goal is that I want to get into federal and state government contracting,” said Gebrekristos, who added she welcomes the chance to stay close to her professors at BSU, where she earned a master’s degree in information assurance.
Smith said advisers with the Small Business Development Center network and the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, a Department of Defense program to teach companies how to meet government requirements, share an office in the incubator.
The incubator, which received $50,000 from the city of Bowie for fiscal 2012 is also slated to receive $50,000 from the city in fiscal 2013, which begins July 1.
“This has been a city investment that is starting to bear fruit,” said Bowie At-large Councilman Todd Turner.
For more information on the incubator program, call the Bowie BIC office at 301-360-3500 or visit www.bowiebic.com.