Brand Incubator Launches in West Michigan
Local entrepreneurs are launching a first of its kind brand agency and incubator to help small businesses and startups in Grand Rapids. Gregg Palazzolo, founder and principal at Palazzolo Branding and Design, brings 41 years of experience in branding, design and identity. Thomas Coke has spent a decade in the startup world, including several exits as a founder or member of the founding team, as well as extensive knowledge of crowdfunding.
Together they have formed PalCo, that will help incubate small businesses, both new and existing, and startups as they go to market. 2020 provided a number of challenges, but also opportunities. “We take the approach of not bouncing back, but bouncing forward,” says Coke. “A lot of businesses will emerge from the pandemic with new business models and a chance to reframe what their customers think of them.” Palazzolo added, “we’ve also seen an uptick in folks that were furloughed, laid-off, or forced to retire that are now exploring businesses ideas they’ve had for years but never had the time to pursue formally.”
Based in Ada, PalCo will serve businesses around West Michigan and also statewide and regionally throughout the Great Lakes. One of their programs is BrandBuds brandbuds.com, which offers professional branding and identity services via creative financing that is friendly to entrepreneurs. Several banks are on board as partners, as well as in-house financing to allow smaller businesses to afford these services by paying over time instead of up front. Other programs will be focused at helping these businesses build their social media content and also helping more established companies refresh their brand.
Putting their money where their mouth is, Gregg, Thomas, and company are also working on several in-house projects, so they are living the experience that many first time business owners and startup founders will be living. “We’ve been there before and continue to be there, so we walk-the-walk,” explains Coke. “I actually met Gregg through a startup accelerator program.” “Entrepreneurs can come from anywhere these days, and we want to make sure they put their best foot forward,” adds Palazzolo.
Interested businesses can reach out to Coke directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn. In addition Gregg and Thomas will be hosting free virtual office hours known as Brandversations for anyone with an idea. 30-minute slots can be booked by emailing Thomas or on the PalCoBrands page on Facebook