Business incubator helps students

Robyn Goodman

NMU’s business incubator, located in Jacobetti, offers students and alumni the opportunity to start their own business.

The incubator was started by a grant from the MOTT foundation last winter semester. The first business was moved into the space shortly after. The purpose of the incubator is to encourage and help NMU students and graduates develop and grow their entrepreneurial business.

“If you’re an active student from any department and you have a business idea that is actionable, you have the opportunity to use the incubator,” said Ray Amtmann, incubator director.

The incubator provides below the market rate rental for office and workspace. The business can reside in the office space for up to three years, but if they need longer they can stay.

“The idea of an incubator is to help the business get to a stage where it can move out into the community,” Amtmann said.

The businesses do not have to be centered around Marquette, but by nature they are creating a business for Marquette, Amtmann said.

Right now there are three office spaces available for new businesses to use. The business that is currently in the incubator is the Presque Board Co., which is owned and operated by Darren Young, a December 2009 graduate from NMU and his business partner. The company produces long boards that are sold around the country online and in some stores.

They won NMU’s Entrepreneurship contest in 2007, which gave them the means to start their company.

The Presque Board Co. uses some of Jacobetti’s facility to help build their boards. They have access to the paint room and are able to laminate their board in Jacobetti.

“The Presque Board Company has the opportunity to do work in the evening after the students are gone,” Amtmann said.

The business department offers services to future business owners such as development, marketing, networking and support. The English department also helps with marketing and one of the EN 211 classes is currently helping develop the Presque Board Co.’s webpage.