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Technology center open for business

By Staff | Nov 27, 2015

The Eastern Panhandle Technology Innovation Center (EPTIC) recently opened its doors in Charles Town and has a mission to help increase economic development not only in the county but in the region.

Joe Rice, the center’s director, explained that the facility is ready to house approximately eight to 10 small businesses who are in the start up stage. In addition, there is co-work space available for those who simply need a desk and internet connection.

With a focus on attracting veterans who have ideas for small businesses and need some start up assistance, Rice said that EPTIC can offer mentoring and coaching to help set goals for business development and growth.

“We hope to reach out to veterans, especially those who can benefit as government contractors,” Rice said.

“We will connect them with other government contractors to possibly sub-contract work,” he said.

He explained that there are many steps in becoming a government contractor and the staff at EPTIC will help potential business developers through those steps to help them succeed.

Rice explained that the space available at EPTIC, located at 300 South Charles Street in Charles Town, is geared toward those who have a business idea that they have worked through and are ready to implement.

“We will help develop their ideas prior to giving them office space,” Rice said. He went on to explain that office space comes after someone does something to advance what was just an ‘idea.’

“Entrepreneurs are the men who actually do it [develop their business idea], Rice said. “That’s a huge step.”

Rice is familiar with what it takes to start a small business and make it as success. He started a video based coaching business 10 years ago-one of the first web-based video instruction programs. Kudda.com, as it is known, founded with the simple goal of helping coaches. Since 2007, Kudda has been the largest online resource for youth coaches, with over 5,500 instructional videos.

Rice has gone on to develop additional small businesses of his own and now is set to assist others to move forward with their dreams and goals.

EPTIC offers mentoring and coaching as well as courses in entrepreneurship from the basics to finance, marketing and management among others. Lunch and learn seminars will be offered in the upcoming months. The calendar is updated regularly on the EPTIC website, www.EPTICWV.com as well as on their Facebook page, Facebook.com/EPTICWV.

Space availability in the EPTIC office location averages $300-500 per month. With this, entrepreneurs are provided office furniture, but not their telephones, computers or other technical equipment. Wi-fi is included Those seeking co-office space only can find desk and internet availability for only $75 per month. This offers as many as five days per week access to a desk where one can bring their laptop and work from an office environment.

In addition, the EPTIC facility offers three conference rooms and ample free parking.

Rice shared that a ‘Black Friday’ special is available for those who wish to begin their entrepreneurial journey at EPTIC. Between Friday, Nov. 27 and Wednesday Dec. 2, space can be rented on the pay for two months and get a third free special. Contact Rice at EPTIC at 443-739-7605 for more details.

EPTIC is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit and they receive their funding through American Public University Systems. Rice explained that APUS President Wallace Boston has a vision to give back to the community, especially the veteran community.

“He [Boston] has always said that APUS is there to serve those who serve,” Rice said. That is one of the reasons veterans receive top priority at EPTIC in moving forward with their business development plans.