Business incubator breaks ground
Rain held off as a crowd gathered for the official groundbreaking of the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center in the River Falls Sterling Ponds Corporate Park on Wednesday, May 10.
With office and manufacturing space, the business incubator is designed to serve 10 new and existing businesses including start-ups and existing companies while also providing work spaces for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Its goal is to provide resources for the development of new businesses, jobs and growth.
“After countless meetings, grant applications and even a trip to Milwaukee we are proud to be in the construction phase of a 30,000 square foot facility that will support entrepreneurship, create jobs and enhance the regional economy in the St. Croix Valley,” River Falls Economic Development Corporation member Paul Schwebach said.
The center is a partnership between the River Falls Economic Development Corporation, the city of River Falls, University of Wisconsin River Falls and the Chippewa Valley Technical College.
River Falls Council Member Scott Morrissette said it took the work of many individuals and organizations over the course of seven years to realize the long-held dream of a regional business incubator.
“On this site, there will be space for dreamers, visionaries and doers, planners and leaders, workers and teachers and mentors, students, thinkers, builders,” Morrissette said. “Together they will truly incubate and grow their ideas.”
UWRF will have classroom space in the building, and will use it as a resource to connect its students and faculty with local businesses and their resources. University of River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen said this is exactly the type of project a public university should support.
“We are very much connected to this community, culturally, economically and the development of talent. One aspect of our engagement and stewardship in the St. Croix Valley is that we actively support business and economic growth in the region,” Van Galen said. “I’m really excited about the innovation center’s potential to provide new opportunities for the university to connect with our region.”
Construction on the center will cost about $4 million. It is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, support from city of River Falls and River Falls Economic Development Corporation and a naming campaign.
With work already underway, the center is set to open in January 2018.