GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Budding entrepreneurs may be glad to learn that Grand Junction's Business Incubator Center is one of the best in the world.
Competing with more than 4,000 Incubators worldwide, Grand Junction's center was awarded the Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year in the general and special focus category by the National Business Incubator Association at its international conference in Boston earlier this week.
Grand Junction Incubator Executive Director Jon Maraschin was there to receive the award.
"I'm really proud that we have collaboration with the city, county, and professionals who come together to help our young businesses to be successful," Maraschin said. "That's a rare thing."
Approximately 20 counselors, generally business owners or professionals with skill sets needed by clients, volunteer at the Incubator.
The Incubator's mission is to support the launch, growth, stabilization and long-term success of business enterprises.
"One of the reasons our Incubator is unique, is that we have a number of programs under one roof," Maraschin said.
The Incubator campus, located at 2591 Legacy Way, includes the Small Business Development Center, a commercial kitchen, the Business Loan Fund of Mesa County, free and low-cost counseling, workshops and classes, and the Enterprise Zone, a Mesa County program that gives state tax credits to businesses.
"We all work together," Maraschin said. "We have amazing clients that do really good things."
Since its founding 25 years ago, the Incubator has helped launch more than 260 companies, funded more than 330 local businesses and created approximately 10,461 jobs.
Maraschin became executive director 20 months ago. Typically, Incubators are vulnerable during leadership transition, he said, so to be recognized as Incubator of the Year is quite an honor.
Additionally, the Grand Junction Incubator is the only center to have won the title twice. The first time was in 1996.
Maraschin said he found it interesting that the NBIA was also impressed to learn that the Grand Junction Incubator holds an annual Holiday Open House in December. The organization learned of the event when some Denver Incubator professionals attended the open house last year.
"It's the only event they've seen within the industry that the entire community comes to," Maraschin said.
In Boston, Maraschin was given a plaque and $2,000 from the Dinah Adkins Foundation.
"This award really belongs to our clients," Maraschin said. "We'll likely use the money to recognize and thank the clients."
For more information on Incubator programs, contact marketing director Terri Benson at 970-243-5242, or visit www.gjincubator.org.