FORT LAUDERDALE — Start-up businesses and would-be entrepreneurs looking for affordable office space and support services now have a place they can call home, at least temporarily.
The Business Executive Center, located in the Sixth Street Plaza in historic Sistrunk Avenue, held its coming-out party last week after being in existence for a month.
The center provides an incubator that allows fledgling firms to grow their wings in the world of business.
A total of 14 companies can be accommodated at any one time and pay a monthly fee ranging from $100 to $400, according to Sasha Patrick-James, head of ANDe International LLC, which runs the center.
Two small businesses moved into the center in the first month of operation and another two signed up since the May 14 grand opening, Patrick-James said.
The remaining nine spaces should be filled within 60 days, she said.
ANDe International began three years ago, with Patrick-James as CEO, putting to use in the private sector the experience she gained as a consultant for six years with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The 27-year-old Patrick-James, a Jamaica native, earned a degree in International Trade from the University of the West Indies at Mona.
She is renting space for her initiative in Sixth Street Plaza, an anchor in an ongoing effort to restore some of its past glory to the Sistrunk corridor.
The plaza, which opened in 2009, was developed by Maria Freeman through the renovation of two existing buildings and construction of a new one at 914 NW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale.
The project included renovation of 14,000 square feet of existing space and construction of 8,000 square feet of additional office space, at a total cost of $2,041,000.
The Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) provided $1,166,334.50 in grants and loans for the project, according to Petula Burks, an information specialist with the city.
The CRA said at the time that the plaza would serve as a cornerstone for its efforts to transform Sistrunk into a center of business, culture and entertainment in the city’s northwest community.
Patrick-James said the CRA is providing marketing and advertising services for the Business Executive Center.
The business incubator offers executive suites and accelerated business development programs for targeted
firms in high-growth industries. It is
focusing on key areas of growth and development, such as strategic planning, access to market and to capital.
Executive offices and workspace, private offices, shared office space, cubicles, temporary shared workspace and virtual office space are available.
Amenities include answering service, Internet and phone connection, mailing, printing and a conference room.
Companies that locate their businesses in the center will also have access to capital, including loans and grants, as well as potential private equity investment.
They can also take advantage of tax incentives under the Enterprise Zone and Job Creation programs, as well as urban area funding.
For more information on the Business Executive Center, call Patrick-James at 954-247-8832.