Incubators - much more than just a low cost answer for business locations

So you bit the bullet and started your own company selling first rate widgets – out of your basement. Well, that worked for the first year, almost. But now there are boxes of widgets all over the house and orders are coming fast and furious. It’s time to make that first move. But the budget is still tight – what is your next step?

Perhaps you might want to consider contacting the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC) and ask about the incubators located throughout the county. An incubator? For your business needs, an incubator in Vilas County,”provide (s) a low cost solution for working space for start-up and expanding businesses.”

Exactly what is VCEDC? This is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 quasi-governmental organization that works with public, private and non-governmental units to work toward economic growth and quality job opportunities growth in Vilas County.

Their mission statement clearly defines what their goals are:  “Provide innovative leadership and regional infrastructure to: improve the economic well being of businesses, communities and residents; promote creation and retention of viable businesses and quality jobs; and provide increased opportunities for education strengthening workforce development.”

This is no small undertaking and providing office, work and warehouse space via an incubator environment is only part of the services offered by VCEDC. Experienced business leaders offer new businesses a resource for expert advice in the management, staffing and growth of a new or expanding business. There are also venture capital resources available to these businesses.

There are three locations for such incubators. The first location opened in Eagle River, at 413 Pines St., and among the current tenants are: StitchIt Embroidery, A LA Carte Care, Butkowski Sales, Property Management North, CJM Solutions, LLC, Second Generation Enterprises, Inc DBA- DKA Financial and Computer Success.

The next incubator is located in Manitowish Waters, at 399 Highway 51. Here the tenant list includes: McNutt Group, Inc., DBA Wooden Design Products; “Our Wisconsin” magazine; “Girls on the Run,” Northwoods Council; Muse Arts and Crafts School; Bussler and Associates, IT Division and Winchester Boatworks office.

The third location is the Highway 70 Business Park. According to VCDEC. “The Highway 70 Business Park is a public/private partnership working to provide new or startup businesses with an environment that facilitates business education and is conducive to new business growth in Vilas County.

Highway 70 Business Park is a business incubator, meant to help new and existing businesses take advantage of the opportunities available in the Northwoods. Nicolet College, with its common goal of economic growth in Vilas County, is able to assist emerging businesses create and execute business plans, educate new business leaders on managing payroll, taxes, supplier and customer relations, and other business essentials. Additionally, support is available to tenants of the business through the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation, which administers the leasing process of the business park.

The concept of incubators has advanced beyond the old concept of just small office spaces where  new businesses can test or launch its products or services. VCDEC has packaged education, financing, staffing, expert consulting to ensure the new business owner or a business newly coming to the area, has the best chance for success. Thereby, the whole community can benefit by  increased economic growth and finding good paying jobs locally for generations to come.

To obtain more information and details about the services offered by VCDEC, contact Bob Egan, Executive Director, at 715-377-0081 or visit the website at

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