The incoming director of Maricopa’s small business incubator met with the public Thursday to discuss his ideas for the future, ideas that could very well mean a positive change for an organization that has come under recent fire for a lack of transparency.
Quintin Baker is moving in to lead the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship after his predecessor, Dan Beach, was abruptly removed from the position in November.
MCE uses a grant from the city, as well as federal and state grants, to conduct seminars, offer work spaces and even award modest loans to small businesses in Maricopa. Toward the end of his appointment, Beach was reproached for being unable to precisely show how well these investments were working.
Though it is uncertain if this lack of clarity was directly related to Beach’s termination, Baker said he realizes this is a community investment and thus wants to ensure taxpayers see a positive return and business under MCE’s wing creating jobs.
“What I think I’m going to add is just a little more measurement, more metrics and more tracking,” Baker said. “There’s a lot of systems in place out there that I just noticed were not a part of what was happening here.”
In the past, there has also been concern about whether the businesses utilizing MCE’s resources were actually based in Maricopa. To that point, Baker said he understands the concern, yet he believes an investment in nearby communities translates into an investment for Maricopa.
“When it comes to business you kind of have to go where the market is,” Baker said. “We want to show that as you contribute to other surrounding areas, whether it’s through jobs or marketing, you actually become more of the destination spot, you actually drive traffic into Maricopa.”
Another attribute that makes Maricopa such a “destination spot” is the arts. The city is home to a sizeable population of artists, and thus the MCE has become and, in Baker’s words, will remain a champion of the arts in Maricopa.
Baker also hopes to promote mentorship programs that he believes help provide MCE clients with an entrepreneurial edge. Furthermore, he hopes to install a graduated learning program that addresses a business’s needs based on their development and level of commitment to growth.
Quintin Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from ASU, serves on the board of Seeking Doors Inc., is a mentor for the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET) and is a cofounder of Dual Path Wifi & Internet.