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Discovery Discovery November 2000
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Business Corner

 

by Annette Trinity Stevens

With its first client ready to move in, a high-tech business incubator facility officially opened its doors last month in Bozeman during a reception that drew more than 200 people.

Named Tech Hatch, the 4,700-square-feet facility is facilitating the rapid start-up and commercialization of software, Internet or e-commerce companies.

eWrangler is the first tenant of the facility, which is located in the Advanced Technology Park near the Montana State University campus. eWrangler specializes in providing secure Internet protocol communications for small businesses.

"Hi-tech businesses are the future for Bozeman and much of Montana," said Dennis Dixon, president of the Tech Hatch board and manager of the Bozeman division of EDS. "They create high-paying, environmentally friendly jobs that will help maintain and improve the quality of life in this area."

Tech Hatch is a non-profit corporation supported by NASA, the Department of Defense, the Gallatin Development Corp., the city of Bozeman, and several Montana businesses. Long-term funding will come from donations, rent from Tech Hatch tenants, grants and equity positions in Tech Hatch ventures.

Modeled after the Boulder Technology Incubator in Colorado, Tech Hatch will provide fully furnished and equipped offices for up to four people, a secure T-1 line for high-speed Internet access and administrative assistance.

In addition, Tech Hatch clients will receive one-on-one mentoring from a business team with expertise in software, the Internet, finance, venture capital, marketing, telecommunications and related fields.

Based on the experience of similar incubators, venture clients are expected to go from start-up to self-sufficiency within two years, which makes room for additional clients and contributes to local economic development, according to a Tech Hatch press release. Eighty-four percent of incubated firms stay in the community, according to the National Business Incubation Association.

Open house speakers included MSU President Terry Roark, GDC director Cristina Boyle, Tech Hatch president Dennis Dixon and representatives for Senators Burns and Baucus. The senators originally had planned to attend but were kept in Washington on Senate business.

For more information about becoming a Tech Hatch client or mentor, contact Nick Zelver, (406) 994-7706 or visit Tech Hatch.

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