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Co-working spaces offer entrepreneurs room to grow

The Office Hub features an open environment ideal for collaboration.

The office landscape has changed dramatically through the years. One of the growing trends is co-working spaces. In a co-working environment, freelancers, remote workers and independent professionals work side by side in a shared, communal setting. Surveys show that workers in these environments feel a higher sense of purpose and satisfaction in their work.

Pamela Kendrick sums it up with the motto for The Office Hub, Shreveport’s newest co-working space downtown at 331 Milam St.: “Work better. Together.”

Kendrick is the executive director of The Office Hub. She said it is the fulfillment of a dream that owner James Thrower had.

“The idea was to give back to the community in a way that entrepreneurs and individuals who had startup businesses would have a place to come and to continue to develop their crafts, their trades, their businesses,” she said.

The Office Hub features a variety of membership options for anyone interested in co-working. The flex desk space is a large common area filled with ample tables where workers settle in to work for $225 a month, or a day rate of $40. Dedicated desks offer locking file cabinets, more comfortable desk chairs and a bit more privacy for $325 a month.

Two private offices also are available. Each is about 300 square feet. They are available unfurnished for $1,000 a month on a six-month lease. Kendrick said she would negotiate with a prospect who wanted The Office Hub to furnish one of the private offices.

All users have access to high-speed wi-fi. A monthly membership also includes free parking, a mailbox, 50 photocopies a month and access to conference rooms. The conference rooms are available to non-members on hourly, half-day and full-day rates.

While the space The Office Hub provides is appealing, Kendrick emphasized that membership offers more than just a workspace.

“We are offering the ability for members to come together as a community, to collaborate with one another,” she said. “We plan to showcase and highlight our members’ businesses. We want to offer monthly socials for our members, so that they will be able to highlight what they are doing amongst each other.

“That’s why the environment is more like a home-like setting versus a sterile space of little tiny offices. We want to create that level of comfort, so people can come in and know that I can talk to my neighbor here about what I am doing. I can learn what they are doing. We can work together collaboratively to build each other’s businesses.”

Kendrick also believes that collaboration shouldn’t be confined inside The Office Hub. Kendrick has plans to work with Cohab, another co-working space in the Red River District.

“Cohab is awesome,” Kendrick said. “I hope to be able to be a part of their initiatives and be a part of the platform they offer their members. We are different in that we provide space. At Cohab, they provide a lot of training and development. I hope that some of our members will take part in some of the programming platforms they offer.”

Jessica Schiele, executive director of Cohab, said the feeling is mutual.

“Here at Cohab we’re really excited for the addition of The Office Hub to the area,” Schiele said. “We know how important it is for local businesses to have access to the resources they need to be successful, and as new organizations come in and serve new needs in this market it builds both our ability, as a community, to offer budding and lifelong entrepreneurs the help they need. We look forward to collaborating with The Office Hub in the future to make Shreveport-Bossier an increasingly attractive place for entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses.”

Liz Swaine, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, called The Office Hub the natural extension of the co-working movement taking place in downtown Shreveport.

“The Office Hub is unique in that it’s the next step after Cohab,” Swaine said. “You know what you want to do. You have a business. You have a desire to make an impact, and you are making the conscious step toward professionalism. You can welcome clients to a professional, sleek setting that lets them know you are ready for their business. And you still have the opportunity to network. So it’s the best of both worlds.”

Portions of this article originally appeared in Metro Leader magazine.

 
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