If there were a place where 92% of people said their social circles have increased since being there, 80% have grown their business networks, and 75% have increased productivity, wouldn’t you consider transplanting your startup or freelancing career into such an environment? It’s easier than you might think. These stats aren’t from folks who moved to San Francisco, they’re from professionals who joined coworking spaces.
Entrepreneurs tend to be in the know about coworking, but for formality’s sake let’s recap that a coworking space is a professional environment for startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and location-independents to work independently – together. They’re “coworkers,” just not in the traditional sense. In a coworking space, when you’ve got a question about that WordPress plugin, your confusing insurance plan, or how to handle accounting for a growing team, you’re surrounded by like-minded professionals with similar passions and experiences that you can ask questions or even collaborate on projects with. You also suddenly have people to show that ridiculous YouTube video to that you found on Twitter. Café patrons are not as responsive to your quiet giggling as coworkers are, you see.
Coworking spaces often play an integral role in entrepreneurial communities because they are people-centric innovation spaces. Whether during a BarCamp, startup weekend, or regular workday, coworking spaces are a hub for creativity and energy. Scores of these spaces exist in metropolises, but they’re becoming fairly abundant in smaller cities, too, and with reasonable membership prices. Green Bay already has The Docking Station, and by July Appleton will have The Avenue HQ. (By the way, The Avenue HQ is having its first Open House during the Appleton Farm Market on Saturday, June 15th, from 9am to noon with free coffee.)
Northeast Wisconsin is not lacking in disruptors, innovators, or entrepreneurs, but it is lacking in resources for those people. Entrepreneurs coworking together helps maintain the creative energy and, as importantly, the community and camaraderie needed to come together to develop these resources until the feedback loop is powerful enough to sustain an entrepreneurial ecosystem.