The new business “incubator” at 103 E. Main St. in Clinton was unveiled recently at a public ribbon cutting. Its first featured business is Aspen and Figs Gift Shop and products from Thornwell’s LushAcre Farms.
Clinton Mayor Bob McLean said the incubator was the result of a decade of hard work, planning, and a vision to guide and assist young entrepreneurs and encourage them to do business in Clinton.
When he started his business in textiles 27 years ago, he said he went into it with nothing. Now he owns a car lot, finance company, and rental property.
“I had people tell me I wasn’t smart enough to do it,” McLean added.
The incubator is especially a great opportunity for any entrepreneur who can’t afford startup costs, which he said would lend a higher success rate to a new business if they had help in the beginning stages.
“The young entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of this country,” said McLean. “Some of your biggest businesses you see now started as a startup.”
Presbyterian College President Matthew vandenBerg said the business incubator will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs with ideas and provide them skills to succeed and “is a welcome addition to PC’s relationship with the city.”
“I am a big believer that the fates of PC and the City of Clinton are intertwined,” he said. “And we are one tide that will rise and fall together. The spirit of cooperation and teamwork is strong among us, and I believe it continues to grow and to grow.”
This spring, vandenBerg and political science professor Ben Bailey are teaming up to teach “Service Entrepreneurship in Action,” a class primarily for students who participated in the college’s inaugural Social Entrepreneurship Competition, a news release from the college stated.
“We hope this will be an eye-opening experience for our students, one that will expose them to the unique challenges and rewards of service entrepreneurship,” Bailey said in the release.
If you’re a young student and you’re looking for a college with such a program, this is an appealing one, said McLean.
“One of these startup companies may be the new Microsoft, you never know,” he said. “Being a mayor is in the business of serving the citizens, so it’s also like running a business, and we need more businesspeople. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m thankful for the vision of those who also think this is important. It takes a lot to run a business and a small business owner has all the same responsibilities of larger businesses, but they do it all themselves, which is challenging.”
As part of the class, students are also helping design and develop the incubator for the future, according to the release.
“This course will give our students a skillset, the excitement, and the inspiration to launch this incubator and make it a huge success,” vandenBerg said in the release.l