BUSINESS FOUNDATIONS APPLICATION
Spaceworks invites entrepreneurs with a creative/innovative business idea that benefits Tacoma’s community and who are seeking to grow a thriving business, to apply to our Incubator program. Spaceworks’ Incubator provides relevant and meaningful business training and peer-to-peer support to systematically grow Tacoma’s creative economy and generate destination quality activities that will engage and transform our community in a positive way.
We serve as a training ground to test new ideas, products and services with a safety net of technical assistance and mentorship. Following is the online application to the 4 week Business Foundations Cohort that begins on May 9, 2023 and meets (via zoom until further notice) every Tuesday from 6-8pm.
The Business Foundations Cohort is for aspiring entrepreneurs that have a business idea and have yet to start their business.
Session 1: Orientation, What Makes a Good Entrepreneur, and Defining your Product or Service
Session 2: Business Structures, Licenses, Determining Start Up Costs, and Setting up Financials for Success
Session 3: Your 'Why', Vision, Mission, Values, and Value Proposition
Session 4: Target Market, New Business Check List, and Goals
- Your business will be a Microenterprise (fewer than 5 employees)
- Planning to do business in Tacoma
Class size is limited to 20 participants. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and must be fully complete in order to be accepted. In the event of a high number of applications, you will be added to a wait list for the next cohort.
There is no fee for the Foundations cohort. The services that we offer small businesses are valued in the $3,000-dollar range, and we are dedicated to bringing those services to you at no cost. To fill in the gap, we are dependent on grants, sponsorships, and donations.
Please contact Jennifer English, Spaceworks Incubator Coordinator, at email@example.com with questions.
Notifications will be sent out at the end of April 2023.
Class begins on May 9th, 2023 and meets every Tuesday from 6-8pm.
Apply to the Spaceworks Incubator
Spaceworks is seeking creative entrepreneurs who want to grow a thriving business and make a positive impact in Tacoma. Since 2010, the Spaceworks Incubator has provided relevant and meaningful business training for first-time business owners, ambitious creative professionals, and folks passionate about making Tacoma a great place to live and work. We serve as a training ground to test new ideas, products, and services with a safety net of technical assistance and mentorship.
The Business Planning Cohort is the backbone of our Incubator and results in a formal business plan. Participants meet for once a week for 12 weeks (3 hours/week). Sessions include:
- Session 1: Orientation, Expectations, and Alumni Panel
- Session 2: Business Foundations, Your “Why”, and Products/Services
- Session 3: Business Financials
- Session 4: Branding and Culture, Visual Merchandising
- Session 5: Defining Your Customer and Competition, Market Analysis, SWOT
- Session 6: Marketing in Practice
- Session 7: Funding/Financing Opportunities
- Session 8: Insurance and Leasing
- Session 9: Hiring Employees, HR, and Contracts
- Session 10: Growing in Your Community
- Session 11: Graduation Presentation Practice and Peer Review
- Session 12: Graduation - Class graduation ceremony and presentations followed by Q&A.
In addition to these training sessions, acceptance into the Incubator includes several key benefits:
- $500 stipend for professional business services
- 1-year trial membership to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
- Professional business portrait or product shots
- Spaceworks alumni meet-up, and events
- Support for grand-openings and other major milestones
- Commercial lease support
- Rental subsidy (coming soon)
For Black business owners, we have additional services and programming as part of our Black Business Investment effort. This program prepares Black businesses to access future leasing opportunities in Tacoma, with an emphasis on Hilltop. Participants can access all the above incubator benefits, as well as the following:
- Dedicated bookkeeper (6-months)
- Marketing and branding consultation
- Business coaching (emphasis on raising capital)
- Business district annual membership
- Black Business Directory membership, in partnership with the Tacoma Urban League
- Annual Black business demonstration day
Note: Completion of the Business Planning Cohort is required to access the full suite of Incubator benefits. If you already have a business plan, you may be eligible to skip the 12-week cohort. Please apply to the incubator and be sure to upload your existing business plan for review in the application. A comprehensive business plan needs to include detailed information about:
- Vision, Mission, Values
- Value Proposition
- Financial projections (minimum for 1 year out)
- Previous Financial History (if applicable)
- Business Structure and Description
- Product/Service Descriptions and Pricing
- Ideal Customer or Target Market
- Marketing Plan
- Organization or Team Rolls/Description
- Microenterprise (fewer than 5 employees)
- Tacoma-based business
- Tested product or service in the market or extensive background in the industry of your business. For people who are still in the idea phase, please consider taking our free 4-week workshop series, Business Foundations.
The review process is competitive, and the panel looks for a diversity of businesses. Businesses are evaluated in the following categories:
- Innovation and Creativity 25% - How novel is the product or service?
- Scale and Impact 20% - Does the business activate a physical brick-and-mortar location? Are there multiple employees? Is this a full-time pursuit?
- Financial Need 10% - Is the owner part of a low-to-moderate income household? Has there been a negative impact from COVID-19?
- Quality of Product or Service 20% - Is this something people would buy and pay for? Is there a need in the market?
- Community Investment/Involvement 25% - How will the entrepreneur collaborate and contribute to the vibrancy and growth of the community?
Incubator applications are reviewed by a panel that includes Spaceworks Steering Committee members, Spaceworks alumni, and community members. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by December 16th, 2022. Spaceworks is committed to recruiting an applicant pool that reflects the diversity of Tacoma. We will only move forward with the selection panel once we achieve that commitment.
If accepted into the Spaceworks Incubator, there is a sliding scale $200 fee to support our services for small businesses. The services that we offer are valued at $11,000, and we are grateful to grants and donations to provide those services at a lower cost. We offer a sliding scale and payments plans and will not turn anyone away due to inability to pay. Payment will be requested upon acceptance into the program. There is no cost to apply.
For Incubator questions and pre-application reviews (highly recommended!), please contact Jennifer English, Spaceworks Incubator Coordinator: JenniferE@tacomachamber.org
For the Black Business Investment program, please contact Herschel Wilson, Property and Business Coordinator: HerschelW@tacomachamber.org
Incubator applications due: December 1, 2022
Notifications sent out: December 16th, 2022
Business Planning Cohort begins: January 17, 2023 and meets every Tuesday from 6-9pm