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Business Incubator Series: Interview With Ebony Johnson, Entrepreneurial Programs Champion, TechTown — Detroit, Michigan (Part 5)

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 22nd 2011

By guest authors Irina Patterson and Praveen Karoshi

Irina: What is your incubator’s business model? How is it funded?

Ebony: We get a lot of support from foundations and various grants. We’ve also taken a loan. Our goal is to become a self-sustainable nonprofit organization.

Irina: What are your bottlenecks? What do you think could help you to grow and become self-sustainable faster?

Ebony: I do think money is one of the things that we need. What we want to do is build additional space. We do have a waiting list of people who want to lease space but whom we can’t accommodate at this time. So, money is a bottleneck from that perspective, and then doing additional things where we want to get out into the neighborhood and offer services for people who may not come to the incubator building itself. We do need finances in order to do that, too.

Irina: How many employees do you have?

Ebony: We have about 30 employees, and that is all the way from operations to the front desk, including the people who work directly with the entrepreneurs, leasing the space, and the administrative assistants and maintenance.

Irina: What are your other biggest expenses besides the staff?

Ebony: Besides payroll, our other biggest expense is probably on the operation of the building.

Irina: Do you own the building?

Ebony: Yes. It was donated to us by General Motors.

Irina: Thank you, Ebony. It was great talking to you, and I’ve learned a lot.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Business Incubator Series: Interview With Ebony Johnson, Entrepreneurial Programs Champion, TechTown -- Detroit, Michigan
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