Daniel G. Farley was instrumental in getting the Wachusett Business Incubator up and running.
Mr. Farley, 52, is executive director of the co-working facility, which recently launched its new space at the New England Woodenware campus in Gardner.
The incubator accommodates several startup businesses in space at a former Simplex Time Recorder building and is the result of several years of planning by a group of North Central Massachusetts business people. The goal is to foster economic growth by providing assistance in a cooperative environment to innovative entrepreneurs.
Mr. Farley became involved in late 2017, looking for office space, but quickly began contributing to the effort and was named executive director in February. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Lake Forest College and a master of business administration from Anna Maria College.
An inventor on 14 patents, Mr. Farley is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and worked in management roles in research and development and product management. At Tyco Corp., Mr. Farley was involved in creating business plans, developing and launching products.
Mr. Farley founded Breviapt LLC, consulting for several businesses, before deciding to focus on creating a web-based software-as-a-service application that he plans to pilot at local businesses. He teaches at Anna Maria College, volunteers as a youth sports coach for his children's teams and has volunteered for more than 15 years as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. He volunteers at Heywood Hospital and as a long-term care ombudsman for a nursing home in Worcester.
Can you tell me about the initiative’s expectations and goals?
“The Wachusett Business Incubator, located at 35 Sanborn St. in Gardner, is here to support economic development in North Central Massachusetts. The incubator plans to support economic development by helping businesses progress from inception through sustainability and growth. It is expected that once businesses reach a certain size, they will outgrow our space and ‘graduate' but remain a long-term connection and help pay forward their success to future businesses.”
How did it develop?
“The idea and work for the incubator started long before I got involved. My understanding is one of our board members, Scott Graves, connected with James Cossler, the former CEO of the Youngstown, Ohio, Business Incubator in 2009. When Jon Zlotnik ran for office in 2012, he was looking for ways of accelerating economic growth in the area and thought a business incubator could be effective. Scott and Jon ended up meeting to further develop the idea. A board was formed to put together a more complete plan and create the nonprofit corporation. Funding from the commonwealth and from the collaborative workspace program of MassDevelopment were two initial sources of seed money to get us started. The incubator also received funding and support from private donors, including Rollstone Bank and Trust, Workers Credit Union, Advanced Cable Ties Inc. and Urquhart Family LLC. I was looking for office space for my own business when my wife connected me with the chair of the incubator board, David M. Christianson. I initially was planning to use office space in the incubator for my business, but quickly got involved with trying to complete the renovations and identifying needs for attracting member businesses. In February of this year, I was voted onto the board, acting as the executive director. Around that same time, funding that Jon Zlotnik had worked with the Legislature to get included in the budget was released. This allowed us to accelerate the renovations and get to the grand opening that we had on Sept. 27.”
Are these co-working facilities working?
“The Wachusett Business Incubator just held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 27. We are currently talking with several individuals and small businesses about the prospect of working in our facility. We are open to new applicants at this time. The board of directors studied several different successful incubators in the U.S. to get a better idea of what has been successful and what has not. We have more work to do, but we now have all the ingredients necessary for a successful start. Member businesses walk into an office that is ready to start. We have high-speed internet, shared printer use, a conference room, classroom area and kitchen/break area. On top of that, we have a team of experienced business leaders ready to support the initiative and the member businesses. Look at our website at wachusettincubator.org for more information about our facility. If you know of someone trying to start or grow a business, point them our way. We have a network of experienced people that are here to help.”
- Compiled by correspondent Paula J. Owen