Before a crowd of over 200 invited guests, project partners, elected officials and representatives and members of the public, the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center (SCVBIC) opened April 12, 2018.
The SCVBIC offers small businesses resources in the way of space for rent, co-working spaces, Wi-Fi, a business incubation program, event hosting and conference rooms, mail service, workshops and seminars, 24-hour access, and business coaching and advising from the UW-River Falls Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The project is a collaborative partnership. The River Falls Economic Development Corporation, the City of River Falls, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Chippewa Valley Technical College are founding partners, with the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation also serving as funding partners.
“It’s a great day to celebrate eight years of hard work and perseverance that brought this multi-use business development facility to fruition,” said SCVBIC Director Danielle Campeau. “Our goal is to help small businesses grow through mentoring, coaching, consulting, training seminars and networking.”
“The impressive new St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center is testament to what can be accomplished when leaders from across the spectrum – business, academia and government – come together in support of business and American innovation,” added U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs Dennis Alvord.
The West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, the St. Croix County Economic Development Corporation, Pierce County Economic Development Corporation, River Falls City Council and River Falls Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors were also honored as contributors in helping build the 30,000-square foot facility.
“It really goes to show that when you have a great vision and you work together and collaborate and build partnerships, you can make things happen,” said Wisconsin Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf, who provided critical legislative support for the center when she served as a state senator. “This is a great example of a public-private partnership.”
The University of Wisconsin System also showed strong support for the center’s development as part of a statewide effort to spur economic growth. The project also supports one of the UWRF’s strategic goals, that of spurring innovation and partnerships.
“44,000 employees, 26 campuses, 13 chancellors and 180,000 students. (The University of Wisconsin System) is truly the economic engine which drives Wisconsin’s economy,” said UW System Regent President John Robert Behling, himself a UW-River Falls alum. “This is exactly what we should be doing.”
River Falls Mayor Dan Toland, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Aaron Hagar and Chippewa Valley Technical College President Bruce Barker also spoke at the opening, praising the spirit of collaboration which made the facility possible.