120 S. Water Street Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823
By Chris Morelli
After months of discussion and planning, SpringBoard held its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 25, in downtown Bellefonte. SpringBoard is a small-business incubator designed to aid entrepreneurs in Centre County get their businesses off the ground.
The Bellefonte incubator project is the vision of Centre County commissioner Mark Higgins and the Keystone Community Development Association, also known as BelleKey.
“It has attracted a great deal of interest,” Higgins said. “We have several tenants interested and 3 people have already turned in applications at today's ribbon cutting ceremony. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will be at capacity.”
The locally-run project is designed to benefit the greater Bellefonte area. A total of 13 stakeholders, with seed funding provided by the Centre County Commissioners, will aid several new businesses.
Rodney Beard is the president of the BelleKey. He said that the SpringBoard project is a dream come true.
“When we had the opportunity to develop an incubator facility, we put it on our work plan because we wanted to make it happen,” Beard said. “Thankfully, we had the support of the county, the Borough and a lot of other folks. We’ve been able to get to the point where we could have a grand opening.”
Higgins envisioned a pair of business incubators in Centre County. Bellefonte is the second location. There is already one in Philipsburg. According to Higgins, Bellefonte can follow the example Philipsburg has set.
“We’ve had some great success there,” he said matter-of-factly. “I believe we can duplicate that success in Bellefonte. In fact, once we get that fly wheel spinning, it can really pick up speed.”
The space at SpringBoard will provide open work spaces, a beautiful view, a shared conference room, a kitchenette, high-speed internet, training and workshops related to how to start growing a business.
While the concept of SpringBoard began with Higgins’ vision, he refused to take all of the credit for getting it off the ground.
“The Borough, businesses and people of Bellefonte have been great. I’ve helped, but I’ve by no means done this by myself. It is truly a team effort,” Higgins said.
“When this hit our radar screen, we thought ‘Is this something we can really pull off?’ Now that it’s here, it’s fantastic. We’re really excited. We had a lot of help getting to this point. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of a lot of stakeholders,” Beard said.
Higgins truly believes that SpringBoard can help the county seat continue to grow — by leaps and bounds.
“These are the types of things that feed off each other,” Higgins said. “We can have a success spiral in Bellefonte. I truly believe that.”
For more information about SpringBoard, its amenities and membership structure, visit BellefonteSpringBoard.com
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