In rural Wayne County, a new business incubator boosts high-tech startups

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Rural Wayne County has had challenges attracting new industry. Now its economic development pros have decided to promote growth from within. The newly opened Stourbridge Project in downtown Honesdale is a business incubator and co-working space targeting startups in web development technologies, app development, e-commerce, engineering, technology services and digital media.  

“For the last few years, we have noticed a number of small technology companies, software app developers, e-commerce and other technology businesses operating in the county out of homes and garages with little or no interaction with other technology professionals,” says Troy Bystrom of Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO). “The Stourbridge Project is a catalyst where these startup businesses can interact, spin off new ideas and access expertise or equipment that may not be readily available to them.”

Another challenge is that broadband is expensive in Wayne County — prices for bandwidth are in some cases triple the cost of neighboring areas. The Stourbridge Project offers high-speed Internet and data storage, along with media equipment, 3-D printers, specialty software packages and more.

The 1,800-square-foot incubator is located in an old and mostly vacant school building. The county commissioners leased the building to WEDCO for $1 per year for seven years.  
 
Another key partner is the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance, which will offer business development training, seminars and support systems. An onsite digital media lab will help companies utilize marketing tools such as images, video and distance learning.  

According to Bystrom, several companies have expressed interested in locating at the incubator, where renovations are still underway.

“The co-working space is currently open and is being utilized by several companies as we begin to ramp up operations,” he explains. 

A community open house is scheduled for July 9. 

Source: Troy Bystrom, WEDCO
Writer: Elise Vider

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