September 19, 2012

Tech Marketer Aims For Incubator

courtesy photo
courtesy photo
Barbara Finer, a Marlborough-based technology consultant, is eying this Westborough building on West Park Drive as a potential home for a tech incubator in MetroWest.

Barbara Finer, owner of QuiVivity Marketing Partners in Marlborough, is courting town officials in a handful of MetroWest towns to realize her vision of a technology incubator west of Route 128.

"It's one of those epiphanies you have when you're stuck on the Mass Pike in traffic," said Finer, who does consulting work for technology companies.

Sitting in traffic on the way to Boston for professional development is one of the reasons MetroWest needs a center for technology resources, according to Finer, who also serves on the executive board for Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Venture Forum, aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in Central Massachusetts.

Barriers To Tech Professional Development

Finer said people who live in work in the industry outside the 128 belt have trouble getting to professional development events in Greater Boston, and there's no place out here for tech entrepreneurs to find cheap office space in close proximity to other businesses.

So, Finer has conjured the details for such a destination, and is currently trying to sell it to businesses and towns with the goal of opening in 2013. She needs about 5,000 square feet of office space to accommodate this center for innovation technology, which she plans to call the TechSandBox. It will include office space for about a dozen entrepreneurs, as well as meeting space for industry events.

"My vision is that this really becomes a little town unto to itself…with walkways and cafes, and all the businesses come together and play in the sandbox," Finer said.

There's a vacant building on West Park Drive in Westborough that is Finer's top choice for the TechSandBox. She's meeting with Westborough town officials this week to discuss the idea. Another prime location is in Marlborough, in a building known as The Campus. Both locations boast easy highway access, in addition to being in thriving centers for business. Other viable towns include Hudson and Southborough, Finer said.

Searching For Sponsorship

A number of technology organizations that offer technology workshops and advice inside Route 128 are willing to bring those services to the MetroWest Region, if the TechSandBox comes to fruition, Finer said.

There's one catch. Finer must find an outside party that's interested in seeing the technology sector thrive in MetroWest, and will donate the rent for the first two years.

"My ask is that the town or the state, or a stakeholder like EMC or another company…will basically donate, as a sponsorship, the building for two years," Finer said.

There's been no offers made, but as publicity increases in the coming months, Finer hopes to find the supporter she's looking for.

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