The Regional Economic Growth Corporation, a business consulting firm formerly known as the Kent Regional Business Alliance, recently received a $25,000 grant from the city for its business incubator operations.
Kent City Council voted recently to award the business group the grant to offset the costs of operating the Martinel Incubator, a 7,500 square foot facility managed by REGC with spaces available to start-up businesses at lower-than-market rates.
The grant award is on the heels of a $35,000 grant the city awarded the REGC for 2012 incubator operations.
Jack Crews, CEO of the business alliance, had asked the city for $30,000.
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said city administrators recommended providing $25,000.
"Based on what we think we can afford," Ruller said.
The incubator is home to firms like Anderson Aerospace, a start-up aerospace technology business.
Council voted unanimously to award the $25,000 grant this year and to award the same amount to the company in 2014 for expenses.
Councilman John Kuhar said he was hesitant to support the grant.
"The hesitation is, I hope these businesses we’re supporting will appreciate that and when they look for a place to grow it will be in our community’s jurisdiction," Kuhar said.
The incubator, started in 1991, later became the headquarters of liquid-crystal tech start-up AlphaMicron as it expanded and pushed out other tenants in the Martinel space.
AlphaMicron eventually moved to Kent State University's Centennial Research Park in 2009 — outside city limits but within the Kent and Franklin Township Joint Economic Development District.