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NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry’s planning and building department has geared up to create a new business model that would foster business development and innovative product creation. The plans are in the preliminary stage, but the goal is to acquire grants to develop a new business model that assists entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in Newberry, and then to ensure they will remain in the community.

Examples provided by Lowell Garrett, planning director for the project, include two or three businesses that test electronic equipment that got their start in Newberry. These companies work with businesses nationwide from their Newberry locations. These are the types of business this innovative business model would grow said Garrett.

The vision for the model is similar to the University of Florida Innovation Hub in Gainesville in that it will provide a system for expansion for high-tech businesses through formation of a business incubator. However, Garrett said an important point to consider is that urban centers, college towns and small towns such as Newberry function differently. There will be different parameters to consider regarding how to launch such a new business model in what is considered a bedroom community of Gainesville.

The planning department and the economic development committee will collaborate to apply for a planning grant and eventually, an implementation grant at the federal level. The first grant establishes parameters of the program such as data analysis to put the plan in motion. A business plan will be developed for presentation to prospective parties that are interested in making the business incubator a reality.

The incubator will provide a location where a business can start up with the benefit of lower overhead and funding expenses. The rent, power and utilities are usually included in a bundle, and personal and general development costs are lower. The Newberry model would focus on business startups of one to two people, who would typically be the product developers.

The goal is that within six months to a year, the business exits the start-up phase and establishes itself locally, or expands to other locations. This innovative model will be designed to keep the businesses in the community.

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