About The Toolbox

Toolbox Open House

The Toolbox is a collaborative innovation center for manufacturing and product-based startups and entrepreneurs. The Toolbox is a collaborative work space where seasoned entrepreneurs, established companies, growing startups, and nonprofit maker organizations will share tools, equipment, space, ideas, and knowledge with emerging entrepreneurs and innovators interested in building businesses based on making things. Entrepreneurs within the Toolbox will have access to the tools, advice, education, and capital they need to prototype products and start growing successful businesses.  

The Toolbox is the brainchild of Andy Barrett, Chairman and majority shareholder of Berg Co. Andy has 25 years of manufacturing and innovation experience. In addition to Berg, Andy has led the creation of two other companies: Sport Scope Endzone Camera which provides quality, easy to use, and affordable endzone camera systems to coaches with athletic programs of all sizes; and Vestis Systems, which designs, manufactures, and installs commercial and residential awnings and shading systems.

In starting these businesses, Andy observed the need to establish a facility to nurture other product-based companies in the region. Andy reached out to Tom Simpson to partner with him on creating such a facility, and The Toolbox was born. Tom is the co-founder and Chairman of etailz, a rapidly growing ecommerce company, and is President of the Spokane Angel Alliance, an association of angel investors focused on funding regional startups. 

Andy and Tom’s broad-based experience and success in identifying new market opportunities, building teams, and growing companies are an asset to the Toolbox and the companies accelerated within it.

The Process of The Toolbox

The Toolbox with Cathy McMorris Rodgers

For those ideas which are selected, The Toolbox creates a team and assists that team with creating a business plan, manufacturing a final prototype, securing financing, and forming a company. The Toolbox provides the companies it incubates with access to manufacturing space and ongoing mentorship. 

The Toolbox is not an open accelerator to the general public. In contrast, The Toolbox is open for the startup companies and ideas that are approved by The Toolbox. However, Spokane Create will be open their program to the public. Spokane Create is a maker's space that provides a supportive and collaborative environment, materials, and physical space necessary to foster learning and understanding in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To learn more about Spokane Create and how to join, visit their website or email Dan Mcgee, the Executive Director of Spokane Create: dan@spokanecreate.org

We plan to create many different ways to get involved with The Toolbox. We will host various events throughout the year, which will bring the whole ecosystem around together. Our incredible facility across from the Mckinstry Innovation Center and we want to have that space open frequently as possible to welcome entrepreneurs, mentors, innovators, investors, educators, and tinkers for networking and educational events. These events will be where ideas are matched with collaborative teams, and where the companies in The Toolbox will be able to connect and network with other entrepreneurs, business and community leaders, and mentors. 

For more information about The Toolbox, please visit our FAQ page.