New Albany Helps Small Businesses Through Center, Scholarships

If most Central Ohioans know anything about New Albany, they generally know it is home to Limited Brands Founder Leslie Wexner.

But that’s only part of the village’s story.

New Albany is “a master-planned community nationally recognized for its sophisticated approach to sustainable development and ongoing public-private partnerships that result in a unique level of architectural integrity, community interaction, and economic vitality,” says its director of community development Jennifer Chrysler.

Also, our recent interview with Chrysler suggests village officials are intent on helping New Albany’s small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed, and harnessing their talent to better the business community as a whole.

Read on to learn which program has helped more than a dozen area businesses  in the last two years, who is helping the village launch an entrepreneurial microsite, and how New Albany officials have streamlined the building process for companies.

Melanie McIntyre: What local resources are helpful for entrepreneurs and small business owners?

Jennifer Chrysler: Through a partnership with TechColumbus we created the New Albany Business Development Center.  This is a place where both tech companies that fit into the traditional TechColumbus portfolio as well as other small businesses and service providers can coexist, share ideas and resources and help each other do business better.

For example, Brad Griffith, owner of Buckeye Innovation, is building his business in the center while helping other companies think of how they can innovate new solutions to take their businesses to the next level. Brad is also doing this for the village. We are ready to launch an entrepreneurial microsite, Innovate New Albany, due to Brad’s willingness to offer time and services to get the programming done.

For the past two years, we have also offered the [New Albany] Business Scholarship Program. This program has helped over 12 small businesses within the community by offering a one-year program through business coaches Linda and David Brincks. David has held executive positions in corporations like Ross/Abbot Labs and now takes his expertise in corporate leadership and shares the vision with other businesses.

The program is designed to help identify the value proposition for each business through monthly coaching/mentoring.  The most recent class included one business that deployed the strategies developed in the program to grow by 20 percent.  This is impressive in any economy.

New Albany is a small community that thinks big. The idea that any size business is a “big fish in a small pond” is integral to the success of many startup companies. Networking and discovering opportunities for business growth is easier in New Albany.

MM: In 2008, the aforementioned New Albany Business Scholarship Program was established to retain and grow existing small and mid-sized businesses. Who is eligible and how are awardees chosen?

JC: The Scholarship Program is by application. Only New Albany businesses or residents may apply. Linda and David Brincks pick based on a series of questions that are part of the application. The biggest factor is time.

MM: Another resource, TechStart,  focuses on moving innovations from the idea stage to the investment stage, with the long-term goal of netting measurable returns indicated by commercial success. Who created TechStart?

JC: TechStart is the name given to the TechColumbus Entrepreneurial Signature Program funded by the Third Frontier Fund. There are two TechStart Communities: Dublin and New Albany.

MM: What is TechStart up to these days?

JC: TechStart is a great resource for small technology startups and has been a great marketing tool for the village. Recently, New Albany TechStart sponsored a venture capital panel attended by over 130 people. New Albany residents who represented various stages of the funding process participated in a panel discussion. Just one example of the networks and amenities available– access to capital.

MM: Is there anything else the village is doing to attract and retain businesses?

JC: The New Albany Business Park is developed with the basic road and utility infrastructure in place.  We recently completed construction of a multi-million dollar redundant fiber optic network that connects to the Columbus Fiber Network and the Ohio Third Frontier Network. This network connects to research and educational institutions across the United States.

New Albany Networks, powered by Bluemile bCloud, will help reduce the ongoing costs of telecommunications by opening access and competition between commodity service carriers. Our network is powered by Blue Albany, a robust and redundant fiber optic network that provides your client with cost efficient telecommunications options.

The cost for commodity services from New Albany to the Bluemile colocation facility in downtown Columbus is an average of 15 percent less than market rates. At the collocation facility, your client will have the option of choosing from over 180 different commodity service providers that extend across the United States to leverage the best pricing.  Through our extensive networking capabilities we also have the ability to partner with a carrier of your client’s choice to provide the best pricing structure for your client.

Our economic incentive package also includes a team of expert trained staff members to efficiently and effectively transition the project from the planning stage to the construction stage without costly delays.

First, we work to coordinate with every department and establish a clear line of communication in order to quickly resolve conflicts and provide a streamlined process.

Second, we establish a development time line customized to the project that provides step by step guidance from planning to construction.

Third, the staff works closely with the planning commission and village council to facilitate the approval process.

This comprehensive approach allows us maximum flexibility and accountability. It also allows a company to accurately budget for the project without costly changes or delays. Building in New Albany is a friendly and efficient process.

To learn more about New Albany, visit VillageofNewAlbany.org.

All photography by Adam Slane.