Connecting Entrepreneurs with Resources: Utilizing BRC’s, Incubators and Accelerators to get to Market

Making the right connections is essential to the success of any entrepreneur and business owner, but making those connections is not always easy.  


Business Resource Centers provide services that allow businesses to flourish by providing access to funding, mentoring, and training that is often hard to get. In addition to the basic services provided by BRC’s, incubators and accelerators can help propel a new start-up to market and increase the impact on the Utah economy.


One of the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative’s (USTAR) founding purposes was to include five Technology Outreach and Innovation Program (TOIP) regions throughout the state. These TOIP regions act as a resource for collaboration with universities, entrepreneurs, businesses and innovators across the state. The technology outreach centers are generally found at regional higher education institutions. Additionally, the program helps to connect private investors to promising opportunities and maximizes the economic impact of new technologies that are created in Utah. 

There are several USTAR supported BRC’s and incubators located throughout the state. They are housed at the USTAR centers at Utah Valley University (UVU), Southern Utah University (SUU), Dixie State University (DSU), Weber State University (WSU) and at the Granite Technical Institute.

SUU BRC, DSU BRC, ITRE and Outlier Labs

Southern Utah is home to two regional university business resource centers: the DSU BRC and the SUU BRC. These two offices provide small businesses in the region a wide range of services from partners including the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), economic development offices and chambers of commerce. 

Jill Elliss, director of USTAR South and executive director of the DSU BRC, says the BRC’s and incubators in southern Utah offer a breadth of experience to their clients. For more information on the DSU BRC, visit

 “We are all part of organizations that have a wide reach,” said Elliss. “In southern Utah we are somewhat remote, and we rely on our partners from not only within the BRC but their partners throughout the state to strengthen the businesses here.”

The DSU BRC shares space with Outlier Labs and the Information Technology and Renewable Energy (ITRE) Incubator.

Outlier Labs is a co-working community for entrepreneurs that provides office space, conference rooms, training seminars and advisors associated with the BRC to help with training. Local entrepreneurs capable of helping others grow their business provide support, training and mentorship. 

“They are really the biggest supporters of the shared space,” said Elliss of the Outlier Labs team. “They spend a lot of time with the tenants, helping them, making sure they are connected to other people, giving them referrals from the point of view of an experienced entrepreneur.”

Outlier Labs opened on Nov. 1, 2013, and acts as a connector for local entrepreneurs by enabling them to tap into resources from other organizations such as the City of St. George, the BRC, DSU, USTAR and Corporate Alliance. For more information on Outlier Labs, visit

The ITRE supports companies that are moving from the infancy stage of their startup, perhaps in their garage or basement, and are ready to have a dedicated, professional space to work in with their employees. While selective in choosing tenants, the ITRE requires that tenant companies agree to an aggressive mentoring program that includes regular progress updates. 

“The incubator is designed to provide the right sized space, along with local mentors and experts from across the state,” said Elliss. “The companies also have access to high speed internet, interns and even small amounts of seed funding designed to help meet the early milestones.”

For more information on the ITRE, visit

UVU BRC, UVU Accelerator

The USTAR Technology Outreach Center, or USTAR Central, is located at UVU within the BRC. The UVU BRC services Utah, Summit and Wasatch. 

“The value of the BRC is it’s a one stop shop that allows a small business owner or an entrepreneur to come to one location and be able to receive multiple types of help,” said Steve Roy, director of USTAR Central and associate vice president for economic development. “Whether it is business planning, how to raise financing or helping them vet an idea and teaching them a process to do that, all of those things are right here in one location.”

Roy said BRC’s were created to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in getting their product to market and to reduce the number of small businesses that fail due to lack of knowledge and resources in business planning and financing. With a higher success rate, the state enjoys an increase in revenue through sales tax.

UVU’s BRC has a USTAR go-to-market accelerator program designed to help new entrepreneurs validate ideas and help existing business owners re-connect with customers. Participants in the go-to-market accelerator program have access to tools, methodologies, financial resources, mentors, grants and office space. 

“At the UVU BRC, we are trying some creative, unique cutting edge processes,” said Roy. “We’ve got our go-to-market process that allows us to use USTAR grant funds in a fairly creative way by screening those that would really best benefit from that. We can help a client vet their product or service, get validation from their customers, prototype it using the rapid development center, get out to the market place and test prototypes, get more validation, do some more refinement, and then start to accelerate revenue and sales.”

For more information on the UVU BRC and go-to-market grants, visit


The BioInnovations Gateway (BiG), located inside the Granite Technical Institute is an academic training ground for students that incorporates an incubator for early-stage life science companies and the training of the next generation of life science professionals. BiG provides life science companies access to laboratories, machines and office space to get their business off the ground, and to train students.

Scott Marland, executive director of BiG, says that the unique collaboration with secondary education allows students in the Granite Technical Institute to actively participate in resident companies’ R&D, product development, manufacturing and business efforts. 

“ These intern opportunities not only give students essential career training but also give resident companies access to a well-managed, motivated young workforce,” said Marland. “Having state-of-the-art equipment provides opportunities for students to see and learn about scientific research, opportunities which would otherwise not be available to high school students.”

As a partner in the TOIP, USTAR supports BiG by providing funding, equipment and team support.

“USTAR is an integral partner with BiG and provides management and operations support for the incubator and training program,” said Marland. “They also provide funding, recommendations for appropriate staffing, training and maintenance of the facilities and equipment to ensure long-term viability and effectiveness of BiG.”

TOIP regions work together and support each other with facilities and expertise.  BiG provides an incubator, lab and prototyping facility to the team along with product design, development and lab experience. 


“We regularly work with all of the TOIP regions to serve Utah the best we can,” said Marland. “Sometimes it’s housing a company, sometimes it’s helping design a product, sometimes it running laboratory experiments and sometimes it’s sharing best practices with others on the team.”


For more information on BiG, visit


Startup Ogden

Startup Ogden is a co-working space and accelerator for mobile app development whose purpose is to create an innovation center for mobile app development in the Ogden area. Located in downtown Ogden at the Weber State Downtown building, Startup Ogden shares space with an extension of Weber State’s campus store and continuing education program. The 40-person classroom is also available for mentors of Startup Ogden to teach classes.

Jeff Jackson, director of USTAR North, says that Weber area entrepreneurs benefit from Startup Ogden because it provides a hub of support, training, mentorship and education to help turn good ideas in to successful businesses. 

 “There’s a chasm between a good idea, and a viable business,” said Jackson. “And there are a lot of good ideas that could turn in to viable businesses, but they don’t because the entrepreneur doesn’t have all the necessary skill sets.”

Though Startup Ogden has a focus on tech-based entrepreneurs and mobile app development, any type of company is welcome. For more information about Startup Ogden visit

These USTAR supported BRC’s, accelerators and incubators, as well as other BRC’s throughout the state, help startups commercialize their ideas by providing a centralized location for office space, mentorship, support and guidance from experienced entrepreneurs and other business leaders. Through these centers, the Utah economy will be bolstered by successful startups that increase the tax base and also create additional jobs.

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