EVERETT — When Everett Community College tore down the strip mall at 10th Avenue and Broadway to make room for the new Cascade Learning Resource Center, The Lab@everett also succumbed to the bulldozer.
Fortunately, the city of Everett swooped in for the save and found the non-profit business incubator a sporty new home — at Angel of the Winds Arena.
TheLab@everett, a one-stop shop, offers entrepreneurs and businesses a place to brainstorm ideas, refine an invention or consult with industry experts, said Diane Kamionka, TheLab’s director.
The center’s services are free.
Staff and volunteers can help with everything from product development to expansion plans. Virtual one-on-one consulting with local mentors can help entrepreneurs explore the merit of their ideas, locate investment sources or jump-start their startup, Kamionka said.
TheLab’s new Everett offices are on the first and second floors of the Angel of the Winds Conference Center at 2000 Hewitt Ave.
The city, which owns the building, “very graciously stepped in,” Kamionka said, “and has been generous with our lease terms.”
The new layout houses workrooms, gathering spaces and a media room where you can stage a podcast or create a training video, Kamionka said.
When Mike Thomas, 34, the new owner of the Everett Royals, a semi-pro football team, needed help locating job opportunities for players, he consulted TheLab. Kamionka introduced Thomas to Workforce Snohomish and other employment sources.
“They’re great,” Thomas said of the assist the business incubator gave him and the team.
Maxwell Mooney, the owner of Narrative Coffee in Everett, and Joel Sellinger, an Everett firefighter and founder of LifeDoor, are two of the many entrepreneurs that have tapped TheLab’s resources.
TheLab is an offshoot of the Northwest Innovation Resource Center, which Kamionka, a retired technology CEO, launched to help speed the business development process.
The non-profit resource center serves Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island and San Juan counties, Kamionka said.
Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin is a fan.
The resource center and TheLab, said Franklin, “is an asset to the entrepreneurs and creators that call the city of Everett home.
“Innovation and creative thinking move our city forward,” Franklin said. “Having the Northwest Innovation Resource Center right in the heart of downtown Everett will allow for continued collaboration and growth of a valuable resource to our future business leaders.”
TheLab’s Snohomish County presence is a plus for startups and businesses interested in expanding or relocating to the region, said Kamionka, who founded the business incubator in 2018.
“The fact that we are an innovation lab is a big checkbox for businesses,” Kamionka has said.
Before TheLab occupied space at the Broadway strip mall, Kamionka and staff would meet with clients at local coffeehouses and restaurants.
TheLab moved into a 5,500-square-foot mall storefront late 2018, but its time there was short, a little over a year. The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the incubator in March 2020.
“We’ll be able to resume the activities we were doing at the Broadway location before it closed,” Kamionka said of the new downtown Everett location.
Some of TheLab’s newest programs are aimed at supporting entrepreneurs involved with clean-tech or blue-tech — maritime — ventures, she said.
In January, TheLab will launch a new workshop to help local companies use the data they compile to sharpen their business strategy, marketing focus or production methods.
For information about the data analytics program go to bit.ly/3D7eYef.