Small business development centers like SCORE and the SBA have long provided support to small businesses. But, a little known concept is spreading across the country to provide entrepreneurs with a different kind of support. Coworking is a growing phenomena, with the number of coworking centers increasing by 400% in the last two years. Coworking centers across the country provide entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, and other independent professionals with an alternative to working from home or in coffee shops. While coffee shops are great for their purpose they were not designed to be office substitutes. Coworking spaces typically provide private, dedicated or open concept workspaces, meeting facilities, Internet, kitchen areas, Internet, business equipment and coffee for members.
Although coworking is growing across the country, there's been little noise about coworking centers in Houston. Coworking spaces in Houston have been quietly serving as hubs for creativity, collaboration and innovation for quite a few years and new spaces are entering the market. One such space is The Office Connexion, a community coworking and business resource center opening in northwest Houston in June.
The Office Connexion recently signed a lease for a 13,000 square foot building in northwest Houston on Walters Road. The center will serve the needs of entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, and other independent professionals. The center will also provide classes and workshops on business startup and financial literacy for the community-at-
The Office Connexion won't be the only coworking center in the Houston area. Caroline Collective, located in the Museum District, provides a unique combination of private workspace, public art space, and open desk space where citizens can work together or privately with all of the amenities of a professional office environment. Caroline Collective was founded in 2008 to foster collaboration and creativity across all of Houston’s arts and technology communities. Caroline Collective has bridged a gap between entrepreneurs, nonprofits, artists, developers, and developed a professional ecosystem for collaboration and insight. Functioning both as a de-facto community center and incubator, Caroline Collective grows businesses and fosters creativity.
Also new on the coworking scene is CoInside, a progressive coworking, collaborative, creative workspace. Its members are a diverse group of unincorporators, innovators, freelancers, consultants and soloprenuers. CoInside is housed in the restored Firehouse #3, an historic landmark on Houston Avenue, built in 1905, bordering The Heights in the First Ward Arts District. The location offers beautifully sweeping views of downtown from the light filled workspaces and outdoor patio. Amenities include the Inspiration Library, gallery of locally produced art, locally roasted coffee and interesting teas. CoInside has an in-house team of marketing, public relations and event professionals supporting local businesses by hosting the monthly Houston Independent's Forum, educational meet ups and interactive events. The spaces easily convert for social gatherings and special events.