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Entrepreneur Center opens doors in Superior

The Old Post Office serves as a one-stop shop for business incubation and growth.

Andy Donahue, Director of the Small Business Development Center, talks in the ballroom on the third floor of the old Post Office
Andy Donahue, director of the Small Business Development Center, talks in the ballroom on the third floor of the Old Post Office at 1401 Tower Ave. in Superior during a tour on Thursday, July 7.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — The Superior Business Development Center and Duluth-based Entrepreneur Fund hosted an open house July 7 to show off the digs of their new home in the Entrepreneur Center, 1401 Tower Ave.

The organizations that help those starting a new business are located on the main floor of the Old Post Office. They are joined by the Development Association, which is housed on the third floor of the historic building, to provide a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

Businesses that were previously located in the building can be found on the second floor. The first floor features a co-working space and an area for new business development is in the basement.

Folks gather and chat during an open house at the Small Business Development Center
Folks gather and chat during an open house at the Small Business Development Center, in the Old Post Office at 1401 Tower Ave., in Superior on Thursday, July 7, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“When we launch our VentureHome program, hopefully this fall, this will be a hub for them as well,” said Andy Donahue of the Small Business Development Center.

WiSys VentureHomes form a network of startup hubs that combine statewide resources with community initiatives to provide local entrepreneurs with access to resources in their communities.

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“It’s kind of a higher end incubation and collaborative and co-working space,” said Jim Caesar of the Development Association, which is providing matching funding to get the grant program up and running. A bigger open house will be held once that program is operational, Caesar said.

The Small Business Development Center is now housed in the Old Post Office
The Small Business Development Center is now housed in the Old Post Office at 1401 Tower Ave. in Superior.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

On the third floor, the former federal courtroom has been converted to a ballroom for community events and workshops that will be held to give prospective business owners the tools they need to succeed.

“The whole thing is a collaboration between the Development Association, SBDC and the Entrepreneur Fund,” Donahue said.

The building will also provide a landing place for Northwest Regional Planning and theWisconsin Economic Development Corp. when they are working with people in the area, Donahue said.

“We’re really trying to … bring some of those regional and state resources to Superior to really enhance what entrepreneurs want to see and help get them to grow,” Donahue said.

People enter the Small Business Development Center
People enter the Small Business Development Center in the Old Post Office at 1401 Tower Ave. in Superior for an open house on Thursday, July 7.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

The Entrepreneur Center is an opportunity to enhance the area’s ecosystem for entrepreneurs and small business owners, he said.

“An entrepreneur can come in and they don’t need to worry about going off all across town to find different things,” Donahue said. “If they need to talk about lending, they can go right across the hall. If they need to talk about properties, they can talk to Jim. All the resources they’re going to need are right here in this building.”

Andy Donahue, Director of the Small Business Development Center, chats in the ballroom
Andy Donahue, director of the Small Business Development Center, chats in the ballroom on the third floor of the Old Post Office at 1401 Tower Ave., in Superior during a tour on Thursday, July 7.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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