Without a sign, the new incubator space for the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet was a tad difficult to find on a recent morning.
After traveling down the driveway on the right side of ATK Space Systems at 600 Pine Ave. in Old Town Goleta, just past the loading dock, GEM Executive Director Doug Lynch let Noozhawk in one of two entrances to the recently rented space — a 4,500-square-foot, second-floor office.
Lynch has been in and out of the offices for weeks now, showing potential science and technology startup tenants the first physical location for the partnership of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara.
He expects four or five businesses to move in June 1, ahead of a grand opening celebration July 9 inside the space, designed to nurture — and hopefully retain — Goleta-area startups.
By the end of 2014, the space should hopefully house 20, Lynch said.
Comfy office chairs appeared to the right side of stairs, a place entrepreneurs can casually work on laptops near a reception area.
Four fully furnished offices, two conference rooms and 12 cubicles were within view, with bookcases, tables and chairs courtesy of ATK or Deckers Outdoor Corp., which donated some after its recent move.
“Being fully furnished was a huge plus for us,” Lynch said.
Buying more furniture, appliances and finishing touches were what stood between GEM and its incubator opening this month.
White boards and “hot desks” were on the way, along with break-room furniture and proper signage for a phone-booth style room doubling as a roof-access area.
Lynch was working to get keys for tenants, who will pay monthly memberships with the option to renew.
He expected some of six participants in GEM’s inaugural Summer Accelerator Program to stick around, too.
“You’ll outgrow this space in two years,” Lynch said. “We want them to grow quickly.”
Rental rates range from $200 hot desks to offices for $750 to $1,000 per month.
“So that’s GEM,” he said, surveying the soon-to-be-complete space. “We look forward to when it will open.”