Church & State is a nonprofit business incubator located inside a renovated church that can help get a business off the ground. They offer free co-working space, wi-fi, meeting rooms, networking and mentorships. A dedicated desk or a private office are available to rent on a month-to-month basis.
“Incubator means that as the businesses come into this space, we’re giving them services to help them grow, get funding and capitalization, align them with mentors, sales teams and networks, so they can get their businesses off on the right foot,” says Thomas Lee, co-founder of Church & State, and founding member of Process AG.
Lee wondered what it would be like if one of their 17 buildings was donated back to the community. “We won’t take rent or a paycheck, just make it an altruistic model for businesses to go and start. What would that do for the community? It was a wild hair,” says Lee.
Church & State Academy teaches business skills that the community needs, at no charge or a small fee of $5. Programming, website building, and application development are some of the classes they offer. Digital marketing, how to manage Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Amazon for your business will be added soon.
The church was built in 1893, before Utah was a state. “Everything we do is about the history and the future. We believe the church is the history and the state is the future,” says Lee.
Since they paid cash for the building and renovations, the revenue generated is used to pay administration and property taxes. The business community gets to spend the extra cash flow the way they want. In the past, they’ve flown in speakers from Apple, Google, and YouTube.
Bakers, consumer product companies, and biotech businesses are just a sample of the businesses that have graduated from the Church & State incubator. “We’ve had more than five medical businesses come through and get capitalization and funding. The last one just got $40 million and now they are building a giant office and hiring teams of employees,” says Lee.
“Utah has a strong biotech sector that supports the biotech businesses in Church & State.” Lee gives credit to the broad community impacting the businesses as much or more than Church & State.
Church & State is an affordable environment to test out your startup ideas. According to Lee, “It’s a good space for people to network, introduce themselves, and get to know the community.”
Church & State is located at 370 South 300 East, Salt Lake City