You might have heard a little buzz around town about “coworking” and “coworking spaces”. If not, coworking is an innovative approach to attracting talent to coalesce into one physical space with the goal of supporting and spurring on entrepreneurial activity in the community. Region 10 is fully embracing this concept and supporting a variety of startup and ongoing efforts to bring coworking to our region.
This buzz about coworking in Region 10 was started by an appropriately named entity in Paonia: The Hive. Opening its doors over a year ago, The Hive has become a beacon and asset for the North Fork community. Hive founder Chris Yates comments, “Imagine what happens when you put highly experienced web/tech/social media experts in a room with world-class entrepreneurs, organic farmers, attorneys, non-profit community groups, business strategists, and funding consultants all working together towards a common goal of helping each other for the greater good of the North Fork Valley and the rest of the world.
The Hive has already attracted over 90 members since it opened. Considering the size of Paonia, that is an impressive number of participants. The Hive has become the central hub for countless projects – both philanthropic and entrepreneurial. Yates continues, “Incredible things are happening here every day.” It regularly hosts community conversations, business courses, and cultural events that not only attracts local community members, but those who reside outside of the North Fork Valley.
The gospel of The Hive is quickly spreading throughout the region. There are currently three coworking projects in various early stages of development.
The most recent addition to this trend is the Proximity Space in Montrose, which is scheduled to open this summer. Josh Freed and Dennis Lankes of Abrams Strategic Group – a local marketing agency – began fashioning a coworking space for Montrose.
Abrams posed a rhetorical question on its website: “[What is the] secret sauce for attracting entrepreneurs, lone wolves, freelancers, start-ups, and going on to retain their endeavors?” The answer: “A great place to live, an energetic place to collide, and diverse and talented pool of potential employees.”
They reached out to several community stakeholders – including City of Montrose, Megapixel, and Region 10 – to co-brand a site for local freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other “un-tethered” business owners.
Region 10 agreed to offer technical assistance, business consulting, and access to small business loans through its Small Business Resource Center. The Proximity Space is scheduled to open this summer, and has already started pre-registering space for future members. More information is available at www.proximity.space.
Region 10’s commitment to this regional concept of coworking continues to expand. Currently, similar projects are being scoped out for Delta and Mountain Village. Though details are limited at this moment, supporting a regional network of coworking spaces is a prominent component of Region 10’s vision for economic development. Ultimately, the goal would be to link these spaces as a means to enhance cooperation, mobility, and interdependence within the region.