Local News

Incubators Provide Guidance, Space to Help Small Businesses Grow

Posted December 1, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— The Raleigh Business and Technology Center was supposed to open next month, but a fire, which police believe was deliberately set Thanksgiving night, will delay the opening for several months.

The small business incubator, located on 900 S. Wilmington St., was not yet booked with tenants. However, there were a number of people, like Alex Thweatt, who were hoping to move in this month.

Thweatt runs his budding credit card processing business out of his North Raleigh home. He was eagerly awaiting his move into the center.

"If I tell someone I operate a business out of my home they typically have a reservation about doing business with us," says Thweatt.

Now Thweatt's plans are on hold until at least spring as crews repair $750,000 worth of arson damage to Raleigh's new small business incubator.

What is a small business incubator?

The First Flight Venture Center, located in Research Triangle Park, provides affordable office space, flexible leases, shared receptionist services, and lots of guidance for small companies with high-growth potential.

Robert Davie says working in a small business incubator has provided other benefits for his Web-based start-up.

"It's an environment where you can learn from other companies that are doing the same sort of thing," says Davie.

Thweatt says that is why he is not too happy about having to wait longer for Raleigh's incubator to open.

"I feel like it has sort stunted our growth, our potential for exposure," he says.

There are quite a few small business incubators in the Triangle, and points beyond.

When this newest office opens, there will be two in Raleigh, two in Durham, plus incubators in Halifax, Harnett, Person and Vance Counties.

Carlos Pullen, 16, is charged with setting the fire. He is charged with breaking and entering, vandalism and arson.