Doors – and desks – have officially opened at The Coworking Corner, an organization dedicated to entrepreneurs, home businesses and any other professional working without an office space. The driving force of the initiative is connection building, said the founder.
“It really comes down to both being inspired and inspiring others, ” said Mark Eaton, founder of The Coworking Corner.
The group, which set up its official location in February, was born from the idea that home businesses and those without office space work better together. And for the last year and a half, that’s what the group has done.
They’ve met at local cafes on a monthly basis, exchanged ideas and advice and unofficially networked.
Now, with the new office at 225 Railway Street is open, the members of the group can gather at a shared workspace and rent individual desks, private offices and a boardroom to meet with clients.
“The hope is that – and I’m sure that’s what’s going on now on the other end, ” he said gesturing to the group who met that morning, “each individual business owner or consultant is bringing some inspiration for others. It shouldn’t just be a free version of a cafe; it’s a lot more. It’s the inspiration, it’s the collaboration, it’s connecting with others, it’s the informal networking. ”
According to the Town of Cochrane’s Economic Development Department, one-third of all licensed businesses in the community are storefronts, with another one-third made up of out-of-town companies who do work here. The rest – about 600 registered as of July 2017 – are home-based.
The professionals gathering to meet and use the desk space have a wide range of professional backgrounds, which Eaton said adds value and perspective to the group. So far the group boasts 128 members on their online meetup group.
Member Gabrielle Bannard, a bookkeeper for multiple companies, said though she has an office space at home, it’s not the same as getting out and communicating with others.
“I need more human contact. I speak to my clients but that’s once a month, usually near the end of the month, ” Bannard said, adding she has been part of the group for about one year, back when they were still meeting at cafes.
Her productivity has increased since working at the office space in February compared to the cafe meetups.
“I would work, but it’s harder to, there’s coffee, I was meeting people and having treats, I wouldn’t work as much. But now, with all this setup it’s much better, ” Bannard said.
Making connections within the group is also her first step to integration in the Cochrane community as she plans her move here from Carstairs.
Kelly Sinclair, who joined in the summer and helped found the organization, recently transitioned to operating an independent marketing and public relations business.
“A lot of people find it very difficult to work independently, especially if you are recently converting from a corporate job, ” Sinclair said. “When you come to a coworking space the distractions are limited. ”
For more information, visit cochranecorner.ca or email Mark Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org.