First Drive Driving School LLC is the Powell business incubator's first occupant.

First Drive Driving School LLC is the Powell business incubator's first occupant.

Rod Hall, owner of the driving school, this month moved his office into 44 N. Liberty St.

"We offer a variety of services at our school," Hall said. "The teen driving course required for teens under age 18 makes up a substantial part of our business, but we also offer an adult learn-to-drive program, as well as a remedial driving program."

The business incubator was created to serve as a startup space for four small office-based businesses.

City officials have said it is designed to be an interim step between an in-home office and a more expensive lease in a commercial building.

In November 2011, Hall rented the conference room at 44 N. Liberty to conduct classes. He had opened a Hilliard office in 2009. This month, Hall opened an office at the location.

The driving school brings four jobs to the city. Hall said two were transferred from the Hilliard location and two new employees were hired.

"The location in Powell has really worked out well for us," Hall said. "We chose the business incubator program because it gives us the exposure and office support that we need. Because our business is teaching people to drive, we can't always be in the office fielding calls and attending to walk-in traffic. In those times when we can't be in the office, they provide the support that we need to service our customers."

Hall has been teaching driver training courses and working with the Motorcycle Ohio program since 2007.

"Several of our instructors have over 10 years' experience with the courses and our training manager has over 20 years with the program," Hall said. "The staff that we have assembled is outstanding. Their diverse backgrounds let them teach students not just from the textbooks but from a real-world perspective."

The objective of the incubator program has been to promote small business growth and job opportunities in the Powell area, Hall said.

"(It has) definitely helped us grow our business and our plan is to become a permanent part of the Powell community," he said.

The incubator program is offered through the Powell Community Improvement Corp. that city council created in 2010. The incubator has is managed by Historic Downtown Powell Inc.

The site was renovated with a Community Block Grant through Delaware County and includes and a shared kitchenette.

Delaware County commissioners in 2009 approved an $80,000 grant to Powell, and in 2010 approved an additional $20,000 to make the building compliant with handicap accessibility laws.

City council contributed about $53,000 to the renovation.

The city held an open house for the incubator in August 2011.

For more information on First Drive Driving School LLC, call (614) 777-1762.

For more information on the Powell Community Improvement Corp., visit