Start a Business | Center for Business Development | Stillwater

Start a Business

There are two ways to start a business with the help of the Center for Business Development. You can locate your business in our business incubator or connect with us through virtual incubation. Business incubation is a focused process for early-stage companies including:

  • Management guidance
  • Technical assistance
  • Consulting

Clients can easily move between residential and virtual incubation.

Virtual Incubation

An entrepreneur with a concept that isn’t fully developed or a newly established company that could learn from other entrepreneurs while having access to business expertise makes a great fit as a virtual tenant. Virtual tenants who are wanting to start a business utilize services but do not rent space. They have access to all benefits and services at the incubator. Residential tenants that graduate from the incubator and still need to access services may also transition back to being a virtual tenant.

Residential Incubation

Residential tenants utilize services and rent space. Companies should be close to launching their product or have a product they are actively selling. Companies also should have full-time employees working on the business in the facility regularly. We offer a variety of space options and configurations.

Benefits
Residential
Virtual

Lease office and/or light industrial lab space with 24/7 access

X

Priority use of facilities

X

Drop-in office space during normal business hours

X

Business consulting/coaching sessions with CBD staff

X

X

Use of CBD conference rooms, subject to availability and scheduled in advance

X

X

Use of break room and business center

X

X

Access to administrative and bookkeeping services (fee-based)

X

X

Access to CBD programs and events

X

X

Referrals to business services and providers

X

X

Business address and mailbox

X

X

Prospective tenants need to meet the criteria below, submit a business plan with financial and growth projections, and complete the Center for Business Development Residential Membership Application.  To receive the Phase I application form, please email us at CBD@meridiantech.edu.

If the initial application is accepted, you’ll be asked to complete the Phase II application which asks for additional information including financial and business references. A Background Check is also required.

16-284-CBD-Tenant-Phases-Graphic

Viable product or service: The business’ product or service should have an identifiable market with plans to operate as a full-time business. The entrepreneur should be at the incubator regularly working on the business.

Business plan: Applicants to the business incubation program will be required to submit a business plan along with their application. Details about the business plan requirements will be provided in the initial consultation meeting with the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurial capabilities: The entrepreneur should have adequate business experience or technical education to pursue the technology or new business idea.

Job creation: The company should create local jobs with better-than-average wages that contribute to economic development.

Growth potential: The company should have the potential to reach significant revenue levels. It should expect to have growth sufficient for it to graduate from the incubator in two to three years and continue growing after leaving the incubator.

Coachable: Entrepreneurs must be willing to accept business development assistance and take part in monthly coaching sessions.

Liability insurance: A $1 million liability insurance policy with Meridian Technology Center listed as the insured will be required before move in but is not required for the initial application.

Companies Not Eligible

The following businesses are generally ineligible to become residential tenants but may be able to work with the CBD as virtual tenants: restaurants, retail, resellers (unless there are significant consultant or training services), franchises, multi-level marketing, oil and gas exploration businesses, real estate management or investment, sales or branch offices, and personal service businesses – although consulting services specifically focused on technology including grant writers, website developers or CFO/COO consultants may be acceptable.

Tax Incentives

The state of Oklahoma provides special tax incentives for residential incubator clients. The CBD is an Oklahoma Department of Commerce-certified business incubator, which qualifies residential clients in good standing in the incubator or approved graduates of an incubator for a five-year state business income tax exemption. An additional five-year exemption is available for businesses that do a majority of their sales outside of Oklahoma.

Support for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to start a business, the process of converting an idea into a business venture requires intensity, focus and a support network. Our mission is to help entrepreneurs build strong businesses. To do that, we provide guidance, education and training for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Meridian Technology Center district. Learn more about how we can help entrepreneurs.

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