Local Businesses Eligible for Grant Money from WSU and Startup Ogden
OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s pioneering effort to help promote financial vitality in Weber County has been so successful, plans now are underway to award money to local businesses.
In November 2013, Weber State opened Weber State Downtown (2314 Washington Blvd., Ogden). The ground floor houses the Wildcat Store and café. The second and third floors house Startup Ogden, a tech community partner whose setup is conducive to co-working, a collaborative approach to business. The location offers entrepreneurs, students and other community members a world-class, cutting-edge, technology-enabled space to meet and work.
With its unique approach to business and entrepreneurship, Startup Ogden has generated enough revenue that its advisory board has opted to offer grants of $15,000 or more to eligible local businesses. The board is awarding grants two years ahead of its original goal because of the positive response to the co-working-space concept.
To qualify, companies must be Startup Ogden members and must keep their headquarters in Weber County for two years. The first application cycle began the second week of May, and grants will be awarded at the end of June and every quarter following.
“These awards are not for new concepts or ideas,” said Alex Lawrence, Startup Ogden advisory board chair. “Companies have to be open for business and have customers, but they also have to be at the stage where the grant would be meaningful.”
The advisory board anticipates awarding three grants per quarter, but that could fluctuate based on the need and number of qualified applicants.
Startup Ogden has 75 desk spaces for rent. Members also can use a conference room equipped for state-of the-art meetings and presentations and several “living room” areas with modern furniture, televisions and game stations, which provide a relaxed, cooperative atmosphere.
WSU’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is housed at Weber State Downtown and provides training, consulting and referral services to area business owners and prospective entrepreneurs. The SBDC also coordinates referrals for consulting and financing services with Ogden City’s Business Information Center.
In less than three years after its inception, tech companies that originated at Startup Ogden are beginning to rent space and operate successfully in nearby buildings in Ogden.
“The energy, ideas and enthusiasm generated downtown have been infectious,” said Tom Christopulos, Ogden City's director of Community and Economic Development and a member of the Startup Ogden advisory board. “It’s an economic driver in line with Ogden’s strategic plan to create high-paying, high-tech jobs downtown.”
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