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Innovation Powers These Nampa Startups

Thanks to excellent support and a business friendly community, these businesses can focus on providing solutions for affordable housing.

By Joe Morris on February 1, 2023

Autovol in Nampa, Idaho

The combination of limited inventory and high demand has sent home prices soaring in communities across America. That’s made affordable housing front and center, and Nampa startups are tackling the problem head on.

Like many other entrepreneurs in Nampa, they are supported by a business community that values innovation. They also benefit from a network of resources, including guidance in creating sound business plans and securing financing, as well as incubator space for those crucial early months and years.

On the affordable housing front, there’s no better example than what Autovol and House of Design are doing. Recognized by Forbes magazine, Autovol is pioneering the use of robotics to create housing stock in greater quantities, faster and less expensively.

Did You Know?

Housed in a $102.5 million, 400,000-square-foot factory in Nampa, Autovol builds more than 1,600 modular-housing units a year.

The modular-housing units, which are used in apartment complexes, are entirely built in the city – fitted with wiring, plumbing and fixtures, and then sent out to their final destination.

House of Design is another homegrown success story. The company, which launched in 2012, provides automated solutions for the modular, off-site construction building component industries.

Working with Autovol, House of Design plans to expand its operations with a new headquarters and technology center in a former Macy’s department store building.

The 73,000-square-foot rehab will be dedicated to research and development of automation products, the company says, including future uses in wood products, solar and medical devices.

House of Design in Nampa, Idaho
Peter Kappes

High-Value Businesses in Nampa

House of Design is one of many companies that began in the TECenter incubator, which is run by the Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC). This is a one-stop shop in many ways for both new and well-established businesses, as well as those that are still on the drawing board, says Marie Baker, Southwest Idaho regional director.

“We work with those seeking to start a business, startups already going and existing businesses,” Baker says. “We provide no-cost, professional, one-on-one consulting services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. We offer no- to low-cost workshops and trainings in areas of focus for small businesses.”

The SBDC operates business accelerators in Boise and Nampa that have office and warehouse space and a business consultant that can mentor clients.

SBDC By The Numbers

Counseling hours with clients in 2021
$10 Million
Capital raised by businesses it assisted
Jobs created by companies it assisted

The Southwest Idaho SBDC fielded more than 600 consulting requests in 2021, and already has answered more than 400 in 2022, Baker says – a testament to both its wide range of services as well as the area’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“The key thing about the SBDC is that we’re helping so many different types of people,” she says. “Whatever type of business you have, or want to have, we are here to help. We have free, professionally credentialed consultants on staff, which is kind of a best-kept secret.”

“If you are moving here to buy, start or grow a business, or are already here and in one of those stages, we can help you,” she adds. “We have warehouse space, manufacturing space and regular coworking-style office space. That means whatever size you are, we can help you scale. That’s been very helpful for startups, because so many of those people are working out of their houses, and this gives them a place to come and set up shop, to have access to meeting rooms and other amenities.”

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