Incubators helping startups thrive

May 17, 2019 10:16 PM

Starting a business from scratch is difficult, not to mention expensive. That's where incubators come in. They're popping up around the Twin Cities and they can give some vital help to new businesses trying to succeed.

After 12 years of telling patients about what drinks can do to their teeth, Dentist Lisa Amundson came up with a solution. It's called "Pep Talk."


"I was a sparkling water drinker just because I made a point to cut out diet soda specifically, and that's what I went to," she said.

Amundson knew how it should taste, and how much caffeine she wanted in it. But she needed help making it a reality.

"You need to find somebody that knows what they're doing. You work together to make formulations and samples and get feedback," she said.

With the opening of "The Lab," getting feedback got a whole lot easier.

"Before going and making a ton of product just because you and your immediate surroundings like it doesn't mean everybody is going to like it," she said.

The Lab on Eustis Street in St. Paul is a taproom, but it's so much more.

"So we have makers in the back making new recipes of the next alcoholic seltzer, beers, things like that. And then we have tasters coming to taste them and trying them on our wall so people can give anonymous feedback on the next biggest hit beverage," owner Janet Johanson said.

The Lab is an incubator. They're popping up around the Twin Cities for many kinds of businesses.

Jeffrey Aguy is with Lunar Startups. Every six months they choose up to seven entrepreneurs for a year-long business program. So far, they've helped 13 companies thrive and they've only been around for a year. 

"We've helped with getting more customers, access to investors, access to programing," he said.

Amundson says startups are the way to go for budding entrepreneurs. She says, The Lab has helped her realize the world is her beverage.

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Todd Wilson

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