“Draft” look at the Coop incubator

by Tori O’Dell

The audience got their first glimpse of The Hilltop Coop on Thursday evening July 1.

Not yet open, Hillsboro’s future business incubator and co-working space have hosted a “draft” (open house) to reveal their newly renovated offices, located at 106 West Seward Street in downtown Hillsboro .

After giving guests time to network, founding board members Kaitlyn Fath and Dustin Jones opened the evening’s information presentations.

Fath spoke about meeting The Coop’s Executive Director Cara Noyes at a business forum hosted by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce in 2019, where Noyes showcased his long-held dream of opening a space. work-sharing in Montgomery County.

She briefly explained what happened behind the scenes and introduced the rest of The Coop’s board of directors: Jonathan Weyer, Melissa VanGiesen, Nathan Potts, Kendra Wright, David Harrison and Jessie Blackburn, as well as their intern in marketing, Maddie May.

Jones took a moment to thank the Hillsboro Area Hospital, highlighting President and CEO Rex Brown for the important start-up contribution before handing over to Jonathan Weyer, the city’s economic and community planner. of Hillsboro.

Weyer presented a draft of his economic plan for the city, which will be presented to Hillsboro City Council for approval in the coming weeks.

It began with recognition from Tom Gooding for his guidance and encouragement as he navigated the construction of the city’s (yet to be adopted) economic plan. Weyer spoke of creating a proprietary economy rather than trying to attract large, heavy manufacturing companies, saying the city has neither the manpower nor the resources to attract them. Hillsboro should instead focus on training the current workforce for light manufacturing jobs and adopt a new vision. . His plan is based on empowering small businesses and using the internet to enable them to grow globally.

He spoke about the rise of the trades nationwide and the work Montgomery County is currently undertaking to encourage and prepare students for jobs in the trades. He spoke about the entrepreneurial spirit of the community and the ongoing work that has been put in place to revitalize the once dying neighborhood.

Noyes followed, presenting the concept of shared coworking spaces and business incubators. She spoke about some of the services The Coop plans to provide, including shared workspaces and private offices, conference rooms, meditation (or quiet) rooms and amenities.

Noyes referred to The Coop’s business incubation services, which will function as an education system for small businesses, both new businesses and existing businesses looking to expand. While these services are tailored for individual members, they cover a wide range of things, from developing a business plan, financial planning and marketing to educational opportunities and professional mentoring. She explained that the Coop’s board of directors plans to work alongside business leaders and organizations in Montgomery County to provide these services.

La Coop has tentative plans to officially open in early September, but those interested are encouraged to register now. Questions can be directed to [email protected] or 618-401-2079.

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