Namu Creative Media & Technology Business Incubator
The Indigenous Women’s Business Network’s (IWBN) board of directors and its members have identified a business incubator to be of most value for Indigenous women creative media and technology start-ups in the Lower Mainland. They have directed Nicole McLaren, Founding Director of IWBN, to explore funding opportunities and outline a business plan to be used in designing, and hopefully implementing a business incubator.
A key directive from the IWBN board of directors was to ensure that the business plan take a realistic view of the unique challenges Indigenous entrepreneurs and start-ups often face. Additionally, there was strong sentiment that the business planning process should narrow the range of alternatives possible for business planning and focus on an actionable plan.
Discussions with key stakeholders during the business planning process revealed that efforts to support creative media and technology related economic development activities offer a reliable, young industry with growth potential likely to engender broader-based support than a project based solely on the traditional service or natural resource industries of BC.
To view a copy of our business plan or to partner with us, contact Nicole at .
This business plan addresses a variety of issues associated with creating and operating a creative media and technology business incubator for female Indigenous entrepreneurs. The work was led by the volunteers of the Indigenous Women’s Business Network (IWBN) with the support of a community advisory council formed for that purpose.
The proposed mission of the incubator is to stimulate the establishment and growth of creative media and technology-based start-up companies and other compatible businesses. By fulfilling this mission, the incubator would contribute to Indigenous skills and job creation, and provide for enhanced economic health and diversity to the region and Indigenous communities.
The Indigenous women’s creative media and technology business incubator would provide new and emerging technology and compatible businesses with an environment that would support their start-up phase and increase their likelihood of success. The proposed incubator includes facility space, flexible leases, shared use of common office equipment, direct business assistance and guidance, mentoring, networking to capital, and other technical resources. A network of existing resources in the community would be developed to support incubator client needs.
Approximately six to ten clients at a time would be served within the incubator. The facility, proposed at 15,000 square feet, would include a mix of office and design space.
Proposed Organizational Structure
This business plan recommends the incubator be structured as a project under a host non-profit. This form seems best suited to the proposed mission and positions the incubator to accept grants and donations. The incubator would be governed by a board of approximately 7-11 members comprised of individuals with a mixture of entrepreneurial and technology experience, representatives of key economic development organizations, and representatives of area higher education institutions. The proposed incubator would be staffed by an Executive Director whose responsibilities would be to provide and/or facilitate access to value-added services needed by incubator clients, recruit and screen potential new incubator clients, and manage the overall operations of the incubator.
A full-time communications officer and receptionist/administrative support are the only other incubator staff proposed in this plan during the initial years.
Proposed Facility and Site
The proposed incubator facility would be 15,000 total square feet with a mix of office and retail space. This business plan recommends the incubator be sited within the developing business and retail centre of the City of Surrey. This would allow the business incubator to be located in a region central to the cities that make up the Lower Mainland, be located near accessible transit, and would be an equal drive time from the east and west ends of the region.