Innovation Pavilion brings franchise minds together
Men’s Vitality Center is the first franchise to locate in Denver’s Innovation Pavilion.
A young business incubator in Denver is devoting space to a ‘franchise vertical,’ so emerging or tired systems can co-locate and share resources. Next up: more markets, says CEO Vic Ahmed.
Two men who developed the Innovation Pavilion in south Denver, and who want to build up to 11 more like it across the country, believe there’s power in putting many franchising minds together in one space.
“Without traveling more than a couple of hundred feet, they will have exposure to a tremendous amount of mind share,” says Vic Ahmed about the tenants he envisions for his “franchise incubator,” which is planned as part of the 80,000-square-foot incubator and events space called Innovation Pavilion.
Men’s Vitality Center is the first tenant to sign on, a concept offering primary care to men, developed by Dr. Ben Evans out of Scottsdale, Arizona. Their executive team has set up shop in the Innovation Pavilion, and Ahmed believes more in the healthcare space will follow. “This is a framework. We’re going to do something like this for every aspect of health,” Ahmed says.
Ahmed is an engineer by background who quit his job to start tech companies, one after another, in the Denver area. He’s become involved in economic development, too, serving on an advisory board convened by Colorado’s governor to make the state a technology hotbed.
Ahmed met Chris Winslow by chance about six months ago, whom Ahmed describes as “a 360-degree guy on franchising. He’s been a franchisor, a franchisee, an area franchisee, has done international. So our meeting is what created this opportunity,” Ahmed says.
They decided to build a “vertical” space in the Innovation Pavilion devoted to franchising, where young concepts could come to build up their systems, tired concepts could come to refresh their brands, and all could have access to experts in franchising.
“As far as we know it’s the first of its kind: a physical space dedicated to franchisors and vetted service providers of franchisors,” Ahmed says. “So franchisors have the ability to be cost-efficient by sharing space, with training rooms and meeting rooms, but more importantly, sharing higher-quality resources by taking them on fractionally.”
Ahmed dismisses the notion that incubators don’t last. “If you look at the history of incubators, the vast majority of them are sponsored by a university, a city or a state, and are really run by bureaucrats. And those have the same problems. But if you look at the privately run incubators, they are full of life.”
He wants Innovation Pavilion to operate like Plug and Play or 500 Startups, both successful private incubators in Silicon Valley, and hopes to develop three more in 2015 and perhaps as many as 12 all told.