Aug. 31, 2001

Business incubator begins life at Lab



Got an interesting idea for a business but have no idea how to go about opening your own company?

Try the Tri-Valley Enterprise Center (TTEC), a joint effort between the Tri-Valley Business Council, Livermore and Sandia labs, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the City of Livermore, the office of Rep. Ellen Tauscher and the Department of Energy.

Federal, regional and local officials touted the benefits of TTEC Wednesday during a ceremony that marked the opening of the center located on site at the Livermore Lab.

TTEC is a business development center that supports emerging companies by providing business services, facilities, training and access to advisers and mentors in areas such as business operations, management, technical specialties, sales and marketing, finance, legal and banking.

"We want to help people go from an interesting idea to a business that can help pay for itself," said Richard Couch, TTEC executive director. "We hope to bring resources to the valley that help this community grow."

Rep. Ellen Tauscher lauded local businesses and the national labs for the willingness to sponsor the center through financial means and in the case of Livermore, by providing the land and facility. TTEC is located in Trailer 3180, adjacent to the Lab pool picnic area.

"TTEC puts us in the forefront of the leading paradigms of technology, business and national security," Tauscher said. "I hope we get a lot of support from around the Bay Area for what we are doing here."

TTEC will support businesses specializing in information technology, biotechnology, biomedical devices and other breakthrough technologies that originate both through the national laboratories’ commercialization programs and through other means in the Tri-Valley area. Part of the focus of TTEC is to take advantage of the Technology Commercialization and Transfer Programs at the labs, in which business partners with the labs on projects such as medical devices and supercomputers.

TTEC originally opened about one and a half years ago at a rented site on Stealth Street near the Livermore Airport. But TTEC officials wanted more of a permanent home and the Livermore Lab and the Department of Energy decided to provide the land and the building on site. Though Sandia originally offered land for TTEC, Livermore had both land and an unused building that could be made available.

Livermore Mayor Cathie Brown, who was especially instrumental in opening the center through her discussions with local business and political officials, said she has been working with Livermore community people for a long time to get TTEC off the ground.

"I’m proud to be a part of this," she said. "The national laboratories are contributing to the economic health of the community."

TTEC’s technology incubator is designed to provide office space and business assistance programs and services to early stage businesses. Entrepreneurs will have access to shared office services and facilities, use of resource libraries and help with writing business plans, marketing, commercializing, acquiring financing and managing a growing organization.

"Hopefully, some of the people that use TTEC will be partners in our technology transfer program," said Ron Cochran, LLNL executive officer. "We also hope businesses will work here and stay in the community."

Businesses interested in joining TTEC go through a rigorous and comprehensive screening process by a review board made up of diverse industry experts.
A business must comply with the following criteria to be considered as a "tenant":

• Be a for-profit business in information technology, telecommunications, scientific technology, biomedicine or biotechnology.
• Produce a product or service that is marketable and can be commercialized.
• Be in early stage development.
• Have a feasible business plan.
• Have pro-forma financial statements.
• Be financially able to pay the TTEC monthly fee.
• Have a functional management team.
• Have the potential to contribute to the community through job creation, technology commercialization or economic benefits for local businesses.
• Not be in direct competition with another TTEC business.
• Participate in the TTEC business assistance programs.