An important part of any research community is a supply of high quality microbiological culture media. Finding a quality supplier able to create custom plates and provide top notch customer service can be a challenge. Local startup, S² Media has stepped in to fill that void. S²’s mission is to provide the best quality media with the best service in the Pacific Northwest. While they can ship their product virtually anywhere, they are focused on first creating inroads in the market in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Based in Spokane Valley, S² Media works from a 5,000 square foot office and warehouse space that includes a full microbiology lab and a clean room environment to ensure products are not contaminated with dust or air particulate. Co-founders Stephanie Bernards, Sommer Teague, and Molly Paridon make up the management team at S².
Starting a company like S² required significant investment and expertise. Equipment had to be specially qualified and validated quality control procedures had to be developed. Armed with an SBA loan and more than 40 years of combined industry experience, the three founders were up to the challenge!
A note from the the Director: “We have a unique business manufacturing microbiology culture media in the Pacific Northwest. Startup Spokane was a resource unknown to us until April 2017. After attending a networking event hosted by WSU and over hearing people talking with Megan, our relationship with Startup was born. I reached out to Megan and had a meeting scheduled the next day to start the next chapter in our business success. Since the first meeting we have been introduced to many people and programs available to build businesses. Without making that first connection with Startup Spokane we would not have been able to connect with the right people and programs to help grow our business.” – Stephanie Bernards
To learn more about S² Media, click here.
Spiceologist is all about off-the-wall flavor innovation, sexy package design, and ultra-premium ingredients. Those three traits have helped this young company pierce into the spice industry with plenty of momentum. Not only does Spiceologist offer a complete line of gourmet rubs, and over 150 fresh spices, herbs and salts, but they’re also responsible for creating the award-winning Spiceologist Block™, which stylishly holds 22 gourmet spices on your kitchen countertop.
Startup Spokane has played a key part in networking and meeting like-minded people motivating each other to “go beyond” and become the master of your passions. Pete has been a guest speaker at Startup Spokane and we have both attended lectures there listening to business people and other entrepreneurs. We have also used the space for video recording (for various Kickstarters) so, for us, Startup Spokane is not only a place for intangible growth and learning but the building itself is also an essential physical resource!
To learn more about Spiceologist, click here.
Sweet Annie’s Artisan Creamery
Upon returning home to the Inland Northwest after eight years living and working in Manhattan, Annie Stranger knew she wanted to contribute to the sense of community here in Spokane. She combined her passion to better our city with a desire to eat regionally-sourced foods.
Annie attended a small business development workshop at SNAP’s Women’s Business Center, which introduced her to other key resources in Spokane’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over the following year, Annie connected with many of the resources available to local entrepreneurs and successfully launched her ice cream business.
When asked about her experience, Annie says, “Spokane showed up for me.”
To read more about the development of Sweet Annie’s Artisan Creamery, click here.
As delicious as his baked goods are, Clay Cerna, owner of Sweetbox Delivery, doesn’t see them as the key to his success. While he and two part-time bakers hand-make many different pastries, including his famous stuffed bagels, Cerna believes the delivery side of his business is the real sweet spot.
“From the beginning, it was always delivery. That’s mainly because Spokane doesn’t have many delivery services” Cerna says. The secret ingredient to his delivery success is that he delivers not only his own baked goods, but those of other bakeries as well, including Just American Desserts, Boots Bakery, and even Cyrus O’Leary’s Pies. “I buy wholesale from them, so basically I’m a vendor for them” he says, adding that he currently works only on an order-by-order basis.
And Cerna continues to diversify his income streams, with positive results. In addition to wholesale supplying and direct sales via event and office delivery, he’s added a subscription service for clients wanting to receive delivered boxes of baked goods either weekly or monthly. “Our income is four times what it was last year…our business has been cash-flow positive since six-weeks in” Cerna says.
Cerna cites Spokane’s supportive entrepreneurial environment as one reason for his success. “Some community leaders were kind enough to mentor me and help me get started” he says, referring to local resources he utilized, like the Small Business Development Center and the SNAP Women’s Business Center. For those looking to launch their own idea, Cerna says “there’s no place like Spokane to start a business. There’s a lot of support here.”
To learn more about Sweetbox Delivery and to order some sweet treats, click here.
Weathers & Associates
We are a tax debt settlement and preparation practice that cares. Serving our community with distinction in resolution, representation, and preparation. Our goal is to help our clients build fiscal health now and into the future.
As a new GSI member, I understood the value of connecting with my new business community, but I really never anticipated needing the support I found at Startup. While waiting to open our current location, construction delays resulted in a need for a temporary location. Startup Spokane became our temporary home for everything we needed: meeting spaces for both clients and staff training, internet and printing, ability to network with other entrepreneurs, and more. Knowing there was a location that checked all the boxes without getting into a lease was more than invaluable. We feel fortunate to have Startup as a part of our journey.
To learn more about Weathers & Associates, visit their website here.
Ringful Health provides innovative health solutions to engage patients and help clinicians make better decisions. Working with the WSU Elson Floyd School of Medicine we have been successful winning several National Institute of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. As our work in Spokane grew, Ringful Health decided to expand our presence in Spokane using the Startup Spokane facilities.
The Startup Spokane facilities provided a flexible, centrally located location to plan our growth and expand our collaborations. In addition to the access to space we have found the staff to be extremely helpful in identifying potential resources and alliances as well as providing access to high quality events. As we expand we look to continue our relationship with the Startup Spokane team.
To learn more about Ringful Health, click here.
H is for Love
Startup Spokane has been instrumental in helping to plot the most advantageous course for our business and in reinforcing its viability. They connected us with solid resources and improved the condition of our business community network.
The support they provide is a treasure trove of knowledge, experience and assistance for any new entrepreneur or fledgling business paired with a genuine passion to see local businesses succeed. – Bee & Jae Ham, Co-founders
To learn more about the natural goodness of H is for Love, click here
Rapid Commercialization Program
For business development, I can say it is like driving on Germany’s autobahn where there are no speed limits and one is traveling three or four times faster than cars are physically capable of traveling. If you want to rapidly accelerate and focus your business, this is for you! – Erik Nelson, Founder & CEO
The Rapid Commercialization Program was exactly what my small business needed at this point in its life. The one-on-one attention helped me think larger than ever before about my business and helped me develop a clearer picture for its future.
Ghostfield helped tremendously in a variety of ways, from understanding how to run the business going forward, to analyzing financials to see what’s working and what’s not, and also in creating a solid understanding of where the business could be when funding is attained. Samantha with SCORE was great in helping develop our brand’s story. I believe this is one of the most exciting things I have done for the health of my small business, and I walked away with a Pitch Deck ready to present to a potential investor! – Kyle Peterson, Founder & CEO
Click here to learn more about OK Sock and check out their cool styles.
Rapid Commercialization is an ideal one-on-one, week-long fast track for turning an idea into a business. Being a hyper-focused week, it helped reassure and adjust our go-to-market strategy, develop a new and elegant pitch deck, and provide extra financial modeling assistance. Overall, it was a great week that provided me a new level of confidence for my business and its vision. – Brek Goin, Founder & CEO
To learn more about Hammr, click here
The Rapid Commercialization Program surpassed all my expectations. I thought I knew the basics of running a business until I was introduced to the proper techniques specifically tailored to small business. The knowledge I have gained from this program will help me provide a stronger foundation for our company to grow exponentially and increase our bottom line. – Patrick Arkangel, Founder & CEO
To learn more about Brando and place your first order, click here.
We at SolarX Works were given the opportunity to engage with the fantastic team form Startup Spokane. Their Rapid Commercialization Program has provided us a means to connect with excellent resources throughout the region to help us propel our business forward. Financing, supply chain management, intellectual property management, marketing and financial document readiness are all areas Startup Spokane and their network of resources were able to help us grow and mature in.
We are significantly better off today than we were before. We are very fortunate to have such a strong advocate and partner available in our area. The team at Startup Spokane is great and we would highly recommend them for PNW entrepreneurs seeking guidance. – Donald McGraw, CIO & CMO
To learn more about SolarX Works, click here.