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CO+HOOTS ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF NON-PROFIT ARM
CO+HOOTS Foundation will help open new space, focus on inﬂuencing and supporting business community growth.
CO+HOOTS, downtown Phoenix’s largest coworking community, announces the launch of a charitable non-proﬁt arm: CO+HOOTS Foundation, which will focus on building business educational opportunities, nurturing a stronger coworking community and providing pro bono service to the non-profit sector.
“When I founded CO+HOOTS, we always had the intention of bringing coworkers together to beneﬁt the local community through pro bono service projects and leadership,” CO+HOOTS Founder Jenny Poon said. “Now that our members have rocked their way through the recession and are growing in size, we not only see a need for a second space but also a desire to give back. The CO+HOOTS Foundation will give our members — as independent companies — the capacity to have a greater community impact.”
The Foundation will help open a new space, an expansion of CO+HOOTS’ location at 11th Street and Washington Street in downtown Phoenix. The location has not been announced nor a timeline for its opening. CO+HOOTS leadership is exploring options in the Valley and is open to any space within close proximity to light rail.
The non-proﬁt organization was co-founded by Poon, CO+HOOTS founding member Odeen Domingo and Kristin Romaine, a local nonproﬁt strategist and fundraiser who will serve as the organization’s ﬁrst Executive Director. Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO John Graham will act as the Foundation’s Advisory Board chair.
The Foundation is a sponsored project of the Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP AZ) program. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible. The organization will focus on four main areas: Empowering Coworkers Success, “CO+Building” Community through pro bono service, “Tapping Talent Early” through youth programs, and “CO+Changing” the world through an innovative entrepreneur exchange program with other cities within the U.S. and abroad.
The CO+HOOTS Foundation will offer programming and services when its location opens, which is expected to be winter 2014/spring 2015. The new space will operate in conjunction with the current CO+HOOTS location and focus on teams of two or more and will include variable ofﬁce space options as well as ﬂex space and will combine for-proﬁt and non-proﬁt members.
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Downtown Phoenix coworking space workshops and several public events this month.
CO+HOOTS, downtown Phoenix’s ﬁrst coworking space, is holding several open-to-the-public events at its location at 11th St. and Washington St. (1027 E. Washington St.).
One of the featured events this month is a lunch-hour “Midweek Mindtweak” talk on Wednesday, February 19 geared toward small business owners. Brandy Lawson, a purveyor of small business with 15 years experience in business technology and marketing, will advise attendees how to deﬁne and set goals as well as how to get “unstuck” from a current rut.
The event is free for CO+HOOTS members and $5 for non-members. Tickets are available at Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=10436031451.
Every Wednesday, a local food truck visits CO+HOOTS for its “Washington Wednesday” food truck event from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Every Thursday night, CO+HOOTS hosts “Game Night” free of charge for board-game enthusiasts of all ages.
Wednesday, Feb. 12: Great Pho King food truck, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 13: Game Night, starts at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 18: Ruby on Rails meet up, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 19: Midweek Mindtweak with Brandy Lawson, noon-1p.m.; Rock A Belly food truck, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 20: Game Night, starts at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 26: Saffron Jak food truck, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 27: Game Night, starts at 6:30 p.m.
The vibrancy of the Downtown Phoenix community can be largely attributed to the spirit of creativity and collaboration amongst its residents, businesses and stakeholders.
One of the champions of that collaborative energy, downtown coworking space CO+HOOTS, will import its savvy for entrepreneurial community building to Tucson, another Arizona city working to revitalize its downtown.
Jenny Poon, founder of CO+HOOTS, is lending her expertise to a new coworking venture in downtown Tucson called Connect Coworking, which is part of a larger effort by Scott Stiteler, developer and manager of Tucson Urban, LLC., to help revitalize the area.
The coworking space will be part of Stiteler’s redevelopment of the historic properties he owns at Fifth Avenue and Congress Street in downtown Tucson and will occupy nearly 14,000 square feet of the historic Rialto building.
According to Poon, the developers wanted someone to help build a good coworking concept. They liked what they saw happening with CO+HOOTS and wanted to replicate their model for Tucson.
“Our model is really based on being involved in the community – intrinsically about wanting the community to be a better place, not just about being inside the space,” says Poon.
The collaboration with the Tucson space is a continuation of CO+HOOTS’ mission to support local entrepreneurship, not only in Phoenix, but in communities across Arizona.
“Our role in working with them is just going in, building collaboration between the two spaces and creating a larger ecosystem for entrepreneurship. We are just really looking at, how can we expand what we’re doing? The collaboration that we promote, how can we expand that collaboration between not just businesses within our space, but between collaborative work space across the state?” says Poon.
Poon will take the new space under her wing until they are able to expand on their own, but a connection between CO+HOOTS and Connect will remain. Along with their shared bird-themed branding (owls for CO+HOOTS and penguins for Connect), members of both groups will have the benefit of working at either space at no additional cost.
Despite any competitiveness between The Valley of the Sun and The Old Pueblo, Poon believes it is important to show that collaboration doesn’t have to happen within one space – it happens all over.
“A good rivalry is always fun, but I think our goal is to show that there are entrepreneurs everywhere in Arizona and that Arizona in general is a great place for small businesses to start off. Whether that be in Phoenix or Tucson or Flagstaff or Jerome or Chandler, Avondale or Gilbert, Mesa, West Valley, whatever – there is a place for entrepreneurs in Arizona.”
Learn more about Connect Coworking at connectcoworking.com.
CO+HOOTS, the downtown Phoenix co-working space, landed at its new home at 1027 E. Washington St. The move is part of a larger collaboration among local co-working spaces and incubators to create an entrepreneurial business corridor known as “Washington Row.”
After two successful years at their Garfield neighborhood location, CO+HOOTS is primed for growth. Having met their capacity with 20 businesses, the new space will allow them to offer support and expanded resources to a greater number of local entrepreneurs, while contributing to the development of downtown Phoenix. CO+HOOTS had been temporarily housed at monOrchid Gallery in Roosevelt Row since early August.
“The move will transcend CO+HOOTS beyond its functional role as a stand-alone collaborative space with desks and meeting rooms,” CO+HOOTS Founder Jenny Poon said. “It will help institute a big-picture plan focused on creating enduring partnerships and breathing life into the entrepreneurial core of the city.”
Others joining forces in the effort to put Phoenix on the map for its culture of innovation include SEEDspot, whose focus is on supporting social entrepreneurial ventures and the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at Gateway Community College.
By establishing themselves along Washington, these spaces benefit from their proximity to each other and to the light rail, while helping to revitalize a key part of the city. As these small businesses grow, the concept is that they will eventually populate other buildings along Washington street, continually adding to the vibrancy of the corridor and the downtown Phoenix community.
CO+HOOTS and their partners in this effort have received strong support from Phoenix community leaders. Mayor Greg Stanton praised these business for having “the talent and vision critical to economic development in making our city competitive.”
Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, also voiced her support, saying “Phoenix is becoming an outstanding place for entrepreneurs and CO+HOOTS is a shining example of a shared space that helps new businesses of all kinds thrive.”
“The city benefits in many ways when entrepreneurs are supported and we need to do all we can to keep our brightest, most innovative entrepreneurs here at home,” says Lanning.
A shift is happening. Look around you. Collaborative movements are spreading across the globe. With the instantaneous communication environment we now live in, efforts to bring people together are being supported in rapid-fire succession.
It’s the idea of collaborative communities: organizing people in such a way that they can connect and engage together more effectively by sharing resources and strengthening social ties. A great website that highlights this is Collaborative Consumption. As I’ve been venturing via bike across Phoenix and Tempe, I’ve noticed the shift. Whether it’s helping with Valley of the Sunflowers, biking co-ops, or Audubon’s conservation efforts, communities are indeed connecting with one another and uniting on issues that matter. Whatever the cause, people are there making an impact.
Technology has a huge role in this movement. Want to be involved in the Willo Historic District? There’s an email newsletter for that. Training for P.F. Chang’s Marathon? There’s an online meet-up group for that. Volunteering opportunities at the Roosevelt Row Growhouse garden? There’s a blog, online news articles, and Facebook events for that. Even these cool kids at Co+Hoots, a collaborative workspace environment, seem to be in the know with co-working magic. (Read more here) All these people are coming together to make REAL change and it’s incredibly simple to get involved. Collaboration at your fingertips.
Yet, collaboration brings some interesting challenges. As more and more people are coming together, the dire need for easy accessibility rises. Some urban cities are paving the way, literally, to make accessibility a reality.
Take Copenhagen for example. It is the largest city in Denmark, home to approximately 1.2 million people in the metro area (200,000 shy of Phoenix’s population), with one-third of those people riding bikes. Highlighted as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, Copenhagen has an urban infrastructure that supports a connected lifestyle. A big attribute to this movement is the introduction to the Bike Sharing System, which allows riders to pay a deposit (which they get back) to rent the bike as needed. Eugene, Oregon is also known for its pedestrian-friendly efforts, quoted by Bicycling Magazine as one of the top ten cycling communities in the United States.
While Phoenix doesn’t have a bike-sharing system (yet), we still have a rich, diverse community who seek to connect. As a community, we can support change and enhancement of the physical structure in order to accommodate more bike and pedestrian-friendly access. However, we need to shift the way we think. Which brings the question: Why collaborate?
Supporting a more collaborative lifestyle increases your access to valuable resources, whether that’s access to local foods and gardens, carpooling options to get the kids to soccer or reducing the spouse’s long work commute, to simply connecting with your neighbors and getting involved in the area where you live. In 2011, I don’t think of knocking on the neighbor’s door as a 1950’s kind request for sugar; I think of it a genuine desire to connect, letting my neighbor’s know they are welcomed and my resources are available to them.
The days of not trusting your neighbor are slowly dissolving with neighborhoods that reflect this collaborative model. It builds trust, which then allows communication to flow. The Willo Historic District newsletter, for example, is keeps its readers on alert for suspicious activities, building that sense of trust and security. This is part of the collaborative mindset. Uniting communities together says, “This place matters and I want to be a part of it.” With that type of mindset, anything is possible.