GOSHEN — After months of remodeling and renovations, the Goshen Chamber of Commerce’s LaunchPad is finally set for take-off.
The business incubator above the chamber’s offices will be the site of an open house Friday, June 7, during First Fridays to show off the completed office space.
When the second-floor tenant moved out of the building in 2011, the chamber’s leadership decided to utilize the space for an area that could serve as a home to start-up businesses for a time before they were large enough to strike out on their own.
Chamber President David Daugherty said the idea for a business incubator first came to the chamber’s leadership in 2005. When the last tenant moved out two years ago, chamber leadership chose to implement their plan.
Last year, work began to ready the space for the remodeling. A demolition day was held with volunteers to help knock down walls and clean out debris from the second-floor space.
With demolition completed, remodelers have been working up through this week to make sure things are ready for Friday’s open house. Daugherty noted the signicifant contributions of chamber members through donations of time, funds and items for the space, such as desks, furniture and equipment.
“It’s a great project by the membership and their dedication to helping the community out,” Daugherty said.
The collaboration between the chamber and its members and the various ways in which members contributed to the process are indicative of the community the chamber operates in, Daugherty said.
“Goshen is known all around for the fact that we help each other out for the common good of the community and because of that we achieve some uncommonly great things,” he added, citing the motto that rose out of the city’s rebranding efforts.
At this point, Daugherty added, only minor work is required for the LaunchPad to be ready for members to move in, including hooking up monitors for video conferencing capabilities and setting up wi-fi access.
The LaunchPad will feature office space for up to 20 businesses, three conference rooms of varying sizes and a common lounge area. It will also offer business advisers to assist start-up businesspeople as they work to make their business succeed.
While there are desks for 11 separate businesses, Daugherty said they expect people to be in and out of the office because LaunchPad members will have access to the building at any time.
He added that for an additional fee, there will be two desks available for permanent reservation.
Other than those two desks, though, members are free to come and go as they please. The LaunchPad will offer mobile storage units for businesspeople to store their materials when they leave the LaunchPad.
Daugherty said there is already one tenant filling out an application for a membership, with a few others showing interest.
LaunchPad members essentially rent space in the building for $175 per month. To encourage small-business development from area colleges, the membership fee is lowered to $175 per semester for full-time college students.
That membership not only carries the perks of utilizing the space and business advice, but also offers a free membership to the chamber for as long as the business is housed in the LaunchPad.
Daugherty said the LaunchPad, like all business ventures, is a risk for the chamber. He expressed his gratitude for the organization’s board, however, for its willingness to give the business incubator a chance in keeping with the chamber’s mission “to champion the community’s business future.”
“This is a new business for the chamber,” he explained. “It is a risk and to me the neat thing is the board is willing to take that type of risk because of the type of community we operate in.”
Friday’s open house will begin at 3:30 p.m. for chamber members. The public is invited to tour the facility during First Friday festivities between approximately 5 and 7 p.m.