MCBI 10 year celebration.

MCBI: Celebrating 10 years of successful business incubation

Austin Ambrose
November 17, 2016

In its first decade, the Muskingham County Business Incubator (MCBI) has created more than 175 jobs with an annual economic impact of $8.2 million. The forecast for the next decade looks just as promising for the incubator.

MCBI was established to provide targeted assistance services to startup businesses and provide them with affordable spaces for their business to grow. Once a business reaches maturity, it can leave the physical space while continuing to use the incubator's other resources.

The idea of the incubator arose from a group of residents in Muskingum County associated with the Chamber of Commerce, who saw the power of entrepreneurship in assisting economic growth.

MCBI offers a slew of services to help startup businesses through the challenges of becoming a new company. Such services include strategic planning, meeting facilitation, annual planning and many more. It also offers flexible office space for young companies to expand and a site for entrepreneurs to share ideas.

One of MCBI’s successes is DISRUPT Media, a startup social media content agency, which focuses on telling the stories of funeral homes in a way that engages with the public more than would traditionally be assumed of funeral homes. Their four-step method of setting goals, creating the story, managing the content and tracking results has proven successful through the company’s increased interactions on the social platforms.

“If we didn’t have MCBI in the beginning it would have been hard to scale as quickly,” Ryan Thogmartin, DISRUPT Media’s CEO and owner, said. “The most beneficial part was having access to other small business owners that we could bounce ideas off of.”

Over time, though, MCBI has noticed a change in what client companies are seeking. Fewer wanted the physical space, but more wanted the services.

“Over the past 10 years, entrepreneurs nationwide are not seeking office space, but are seeking consultation and guidance,” Larry Triplett, executive director of MCBI, said. “This is why MCBI is moving from its current location to the campus of Zane State College.”

Moving to Zane State College will allow MCBI to deepen its connection with the IDEA Lab, a prototype production facility located there. The results will be an increase in product commercialization efforts by allowing client companies to create prototypes of their products quickly. Plans moving forward also include developing a way to help existing businesses grow too.

“I have seen the team at MCBI inspire and be inspired by the entrepreneurs they work with,” Shmuel Roth, business consultant at partner organization TechGROWTH Ohio, said. “MCBI is reaching more businesses and entrepreneurs than ever before, and is consistently seeking out new opportunities.”

For example: In 2015, MCBI added a regional kitchen incubator to give local growers a place to sell their products.

Launching the kitchen incubator was an initiative of MCBI’s previous executive director, Carol Humphreys. Triplett, a founder of MCBI and its former chairman, succeeded her in 2013. He knows startups well: He started a company with a partner that he eventually sold to a Fortune 50 company.

“Over half of the jobs in this country would not exist if it wasn’t for entrepreneurs,” Triplett said. “Our society would not exist if it wasn’t for entrepreneurs.”