Business incubator ready to open in Washington

Katie Anderson

The years-long project known as the Greater Washington Area Business Incubator in Washington has been rebranded and is ready to open this week.

Ignite, as it’s now called, sits where the former O’Reilly Auto Parts shop was, at 57 E. Chestnut St. in Washington.

Ignite’s Executive Director Max Miller said the incubator’s advisory board had been talking about the vision for this project for years.

“We knew it needed to have brand messaging and an identity,” he said in a recent interview.

The goal for Ignite, an operation run by Washington & Jefferson College, is to provide a space and environment that allows entrepreneurship to thrive.

“Through brainstorming with the advisory board we ended up with this term “Ignite,” and that question of how we could spark change and innovation. The ignite descriptor seemed to fit how we were trying to make meaningful and sustainable change here in Washington County.”

Miller said the pandemic didn’t slow construction on the building, which was completely renovated. He said work started in late summer last year and was completed in the first quarter of 2021. The official opening date is June 1.

Ignite is membership-based, Miller said. Three fixed office spaces are available for monthly rent of $500, eight fixed work stations for $150 per month, a $65 monthly membership to use any available desk, cubicle or workspace, or a $15 per day drop-in rate without a membership.

The building also has an open kitchen space, dishwasher, microwave and printer, which are available to members and those using the space.

Lauren LeGreca will be Ignite’s manager, running day-to-day operations and interacting with prospective tenants. Ignite will soon launch a new website, too, but for now, people can find information on their “splash page,”

Miller said a series of open houses will be held for various stakeholders, including the college community and advisory board, the first and third weeks of June.

“The energy is certainly coming back,” Miller said. “We’re super-excited to have a physical space now. It’s intended to be an asset for the whole county, and that’s what we’re starting to see.”