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[Whiteboard Blog] Stamford Area Coworking is Diverse and Growing

Coworking is not new to the startup, freelance or techie world. There are more than 780 in the United States (when there was one in 2005), and the trend is growing in all corners of Connecticut. 

Last week, The Whiteboard talked with Katherine Warman Kern of COMRADITY, Karl Heine of SoNo Spaces and Sarah Robinson and Peter Propp of The Stamford Innovation Center and WorkSpace Stamford – four prominent voices in the coworking community in southwestern Connecticut, and members of The Business Council of Fairfield County’s Shared Workspace Initiative.

For many, coworking is the future of how we work.

Why? People are tired of working in cubicles. Coffee shops can get loud and crazy. And, at a certain point, working from home doesn’t work – it can be isolating and then there are distractions. Raise your hand if kids, a pet or spouse hovering near your workspace has ever hurt your productivity.

These are the main reasons why coworking got started, and why the number of shared workspaces has grown substantially in the last two years.

Coworking helps indie businesses, freelancers and startups recapture the best benefits of an office environment, specifically, community, collaboration and inspiration, without giving up the best perks of working for yourself: flexibility, independence and doing what you love to do.

Each place has its own vibe. The beauty of coworking is that it can come in different stripes. Some spaces accept everyone. Many other coworking communities are specialized on entrepreneurs and business startups, innovation, social enterprise or creative professionals, for example.

These spaces are stimulating, inspiring, and fun. Members love to come to work and stay for the increased levels of productivity and community. A community that is helping to grow the local economy.

If you’re starting to think you might need a change of scenery and live in the Stamford area, consider these shared spaces, only some of the 12+ in Fairfield County:

Stamford Innovation Center & WorkSpace Stamford

Housed in a 108-year-old Beaux-Arts gem, formerly the Town Hall building, the Stamford Innovation Center is an entrepreneurial hub and cooperative workspace in downtown Stamford that brings together entrepreneurs, early-stage companies, and independent consultants who recognize the value of working in a shared setting. With 20-foot ceilings and large, airy rooms, it’s a great atmosphere to be inspired and think. Free coffee, free printing and fast WiFi help with the inspiration, as well.

Photo: © J.D. Durrans 2014

The space encourages the free exchange of ideas and resources, develops personal and professional relationships and mutually beneficial growth for all businesses. There are a variety of membership options – from 2 days per month to 24/7 access with a multitude of perks.

Like other coworking spaces, education and events play a key role in building WorkSpace Stamford’s vibrant community. At night, the building turns from office to event space with InnovationEd classes and meetups focused on entrepreneurship, tech and design. Experts teach topics ranging from coding, inbound marketing and public relations to equip startups and entrepreneurs with the skills they need to succeed. The Center typically hosts 2-3 events a week, with more than 8,000 event attendees since 2012.

Popular, ongoing events that allow the community to network, connect and learn:

The Stamford Tech Meetup – builds bridges between the New York and Stamford tech communities. This monthly event attracts entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, web developers and designers, and brings an element of the original NY tech meetup with 5 minute tech demos, womanpreneur and hacks of the month with plenty of networking. It’s held the last Monday of every month.

The Weekly Social Media Sync – serves up hot coffee, pancakes, and innovative ideas every Wedenesday. This meetup highlights innovative ways social media is being used to grow businesses, develop communities and create social change. A different social media professional will speak each week about how they are using social media in new ways. The Social Media Sync team has been running these breakfasts at The Grove in New Haven. They are now lending their expertise in Stamford.

Weekly Hacker Night – a mashup for technologists, marketers and investors to meet and mingle, every Tuesday. Each event features a company success story, lessons learned or a deep dive on an innovative new idea. Participants range from students to careers veterans, with the common thread being that are all willing to help one another to break through barriers, find partners, and help build an innovation community.

“Most importantly, we surround our entrepreneurs with a community dedicated to their success. It is an ideal environment to work, learn, accelerate, and create the future,” according to Sarah Robinson.

The Center also provides space for early-stage businesses with growth potential. Through its startup focused programming, startup teams validate business ideas and are connected to mentors, programs, new funding sources and events across the state. “Sparks are beginning to fly. There’s lots of entrepreneurial energy. Our hope is that these companies outgrow our office so we can bring in more startup companies,” said Peter Propp.

Read the full article HERE.

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