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The startup life can be lonely. Find community and collaboration in coworking.

August 04, 2015

In the fast-paced world of startups, finding great office space can be challenging.

In the fast-paced world of startups, finding great office space can be challenging for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. According to recent reports, coworking spaces have increased by 400 percent in the last two years because they offer what forward- thinking entrepreneurs are looking for – community and collaboration. Business incubators and coworking spaces (sometimes used interchangeably) offer many advantages to young businesses, and some go a step beyond by offering mentorship, education and community to their members. Here’s what to look for:

  1. A built in support system. What if you could ask the person on your left or right about a problem you are having, and they could help you, or know someone who can? Building a strong network is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. Coworking spaces attract large numbers of individuals and companies that are working from the same space—you never know who is going to walk through the door. The person you are sitting next to could be your next employee, advisor, or investor! Some locations even host office hours with experienced mentors and advisors that can answer your questions.
  2. Education. Many coworking spaces or business incubators offer workshops and information sessions on important business and technology topics to help you get your business off the ground. Some even survey their membership regularly to find out what they would like to receive training on, and offer those same services to the public.
  3. First-hand experience. You can’t teach entrepreneurship. The only way to fully experience the startup world is to immerse yourself in it—which means surrounding yourself with other people who are doing what you’re doing. Beyond the support system, members at a coworking space often motivate each other to stay focused and passionate. Being part of a supportive community helps entrepreneurs learn the skills they need.

So, when you’re looking for office space, keep these things in mind. What does “office space” really mean to you? Are you looking for a place where you can build a network of like-minded individuals to help you with challenges and keep you passionate? Or just a place to house your desk and computer? By 2020, more than 40 percent of the American workforce will be freelancing in some form. We’re working toward an economy in which coworking and incubation could become the new normal.

BetamoreThis piece is contributed by Brooke Baader of Betamore, a campus for technology and entrepreneurship located in downtown Baltimore.

Brooke is a third year at the University of Virginia studying Media and Leadership. She is a proud supporter of the Baltimore Ravens, loves waffles, and is passionate about growing the startup scene in Baltimore. Brooke is spending her summer with Betamore as a marketing intern, where she manages and helps promote classes and workshops. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a career in digital advertising and marketing.

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