Business incubator helps local startup

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Joe Smith, owner of JD Technologies, installs a computer hard drive Monday. Smith is the first occupant at the Clovis Business Incubator.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

There’s a hatchling in the Clovis Business Incubator.

Joe Smith, owner of JD Technologies, recently moved his computer repair business from his home to the facility, marking him as the first small business to take up residency there.

Monday began Smith’s second week in his new office and he said it is a perfect fit for him.

“It has everything that a business could ever want all in one place,” Smith said.

“At this price and with these amenities this was the best option.”

Smith said he has access to everything from coffee pots to fax machines and has enjoyed the proximity to the Small Business Development Center just two offices away.

“I’ve used that several times if I had questions,” he said.

About three months ago Smith started his own mobile computer repair business catering to homes and offices.

Working from his home, Smith chuckled when he said, “Whenever I first started out I promised my wife I would keep it all in one room.”

But as time went by, Smith found himself having to move his business stuff around the house to accommodate company and family activities, and knew he needed a place outside his home to conduct business.

Plus he said the added convenience of giving customers a ready location they could stop by was important.

“I was looking for something that was more convenient for me and the customer,” he said.

Located at 105 E. Grand, the Clovis Business Incubator is a joint project of two larger tenants of the building: The Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce and the Clovis Industrial Development Corp.

“The Business Incubator program is dedicated to improving the start-up, growth and survival rates of technology-based and other businesses in the project area,” according to a press release from the chamber of commerce. “The ultimate goal will be to “graduate” companies (which) will continue to contribute to the project area’s economy through the creation of jobs and taxable opportunities after leaving the facility.”

The center’s below-market lease rates and ready-to-use spaces are the draw for those just entering the business world, chamber officials said.

Tenants also have access to the Internet, conference and meeting rooms, and a kitchen.

Leases start at $1 per square foot per month and increases over a three years to prepare business owners for the transition to the outside world.

Smith said he expects his three years there will be more than enough to grow his business and hopes that he will eventually occupy a store front to use as a home base.

Employees are part of the goal too, he said.

“Without a doubt it will (grow in volume),” the 30-year-old said.