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Boot camp with entrepreneurial spirit

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A Superior business incubator is seeking to inspire more entrepreneurs. The Superior Business Center will offer a boot camp next month for people hoping to start a business.

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“I wanted to touch on different things that people don’t normally get in coming to a business course,” said Lynn Johnson, business services coordinator for the center. “These are the real-world things that they’re going to be looking at and what they’re going to be facing when they start a new business. I just wanted to whet their appetites and help them understand what it’s about and how we can go forward for their dream.”

The two-day program taps into experts ranging from consultants and attorneys to a bank president. They will touch on the topics of social media, the basics of a business plan, networking, the Douglas County Revolving Loan Fund and more. Participants will learn the difference between an LLC and a C corporation and chart the trajectory of National Bank of Commerce.

“What I wanted to do is give an entrepreneur a well-rounded opportunity to get a taste of what business is really going to be like,” Johnson said.

The incubator has seen an 80 percent increase in tenants over the last eight months. New arrivals Hill Creek Marketing, Clover Valley Farm Vinegary and Kwik Trip share the site with anchor businesses like IHS Door Company, Environmental Consulting and Testing, and Prairie Kitchen Scones.

Kwik Trip will use office and kitchen space at the center to train employees prior to the opening of three new convenience stores in Superior. Normally, that would be done at another local Kwik Trip site, Johnson said.

Superior Business Center is owned jointly by the city of Superior and Douglas County and managed by the Development Association. The incubator helps entrepreneurs and expanding businesses by offering programming and mentoring that allows them to move out to their own storefront within three to five years. It encompasses office space, the largest shared-space industrial kitchen in the region and light industrial space. The center provides flexible options, like by-the-hour office and conference room rentals and off-site assistance for business owners.

“We can work with them virtually; they don’t need to be on site,” Johnson said. “We can go to their location and help them to be able to find where their weak spots are and how to strengthen them.”

The incubator may be full now, but current tenants are already working on graduation dates. The center’s list of success stories includes Exodus Machines, Northern Waters Smokehause and Business North. Johnson hopes to encourage more people to start their own business. Whether they know exactly what type of business they want to launch or just know they want to start a business of some sort, this class is for them.

“We can help them find where their passion is,” Johnson said.

The boot camp runs from 6-9 p.m. May 2 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 at the Superior Business Center, 1423 N. Eighth St. The cost to attend is $50 and space is limited. To register, contact 715-718-2327 or lynn@wegrowbiz.org.

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