NEWPORT, Ky. — The Newport City Commission has approved a new economic development incentive pilot program that is designed to attract coworking spaces and business incubators to the city.
Through the Incentive Driving Entrepreneurial Accessibility––or IDEA––pilot program, property owners and those leasing space could be eligible for a city payroll tax rebate of up to 40% for up to five years.
“The intent of the program is to reduce the rent or help pay for rehab costs and improvements for businesses moving into the city,” said Newport Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims, who created the IDEA program. “It is designed to not only stimulate new businesses locating in Newport, but also stimulate new investment in the city.”
The main goals and objectives of the IDEA program are:
- Meet the needs of the new economy;
- Provide affordable space for start-ups, entrepreneurs, small businesses and traveling professionals, and;
- Encourage co-working and business incubator opportunities while spurring investment in vacant properties.
Urban areas such as Newport with older, developable office and business space are popular for co-working and incubator spaces.
Co-working spaces appeal to the self-employed or freelancers or contractors who work may for work for several employers and seek flexibility in an affordable setting. The workers often share equipment, ideas, knowledge and services – including custodial and receptionist services – in an environment that breeds convenience, cost savings, networking and sharing.
Incubators are designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services and networking connections.
“This program could act as an incubator with the hope being that businesses would grow and remain here in the city,” said Newport Vice Mayor Tom Guidugli, Jr.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Property owners who rehabilitate a vacant property or commercial space for co-working or business incubator use;
- Properties must have been “significantly vacant”––more than 50% of total square footage––for six months;
- Each business must have a valid occupational license from the city;
- Coworking space must have a minimum of three unique paying tenants and can demonstrate taxable payroll of existing clients of more than $150,000 within six months of opening;
- Have an operating cost, such as rent, mortgage or a corporate charge-back;
- Offer at least one type of workspace, such as private offices, hot-desks or dedicated desks, and;
- Tenants claimed in the application can not already be approved for the city’s Job Development Incentive Program.
Information on the IDEA program will be posted on the city’s website.