While the idea of coworking isn’t new in areas where tech and startups reign supreme, it is new to West Virginia and something that, at its core, has continually evolved over the past 10 years.
Even being as new as the concept is, “shared workspace” has gone thru a continual metamorphosis that has moved away from just being another office space, and focused more on being a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle choice that, when done right, acquires both awareness and community following. Both of which are arguably needed in large doses throughout West Virginia.
While everyone in #wildandwonderful West Virginia has been keeping an eye on state happenings and innovative ways to alter the mass exodus of the next generation, there is a pivotal place in underserved communities for collaborative spaces.
Organizations like Generation West Virginia have been keenly aware of, and proactively countering the declining population in West Virginia. Turning the tables on making the state an ideal destination for young talent by developing and sustaining networks of young people, providing accessible programs and educational tools that inspire, and identifying needs of the next generation of West Virginians
So how does coworking fit into the grand scheme of things?
New models of working and connecting allow communities to establish the next wave of community trust and togetherness.
Coworking breaks down the traditional patterns of competition in struggling communities through the core value of sharing and surviving together. When you put a bunch of people who are passionate about not only their own business, but how their business will make an impact on community progress – people will trust and connect with one another on a deeper, unified level. A level where ideas and initiatives that make a difference and have more momentum because the positivity of group-think is inspiring progress. In coworking communities, people learn to trust one another with their struggles, share excitement over their lightbulb moments and embrace common intentions. Allowing them to leave behind the fear of losing their brand identity and be part of a culture that will help them better define their own.
Acknowledge what the social value of a cowork space means for underserved communities.
This idea spans across everything from enabling people to explore ideas without large financial investments, to bringing state-wide resources to the conversation when they are most needed. Small towns throughout West Virginia are starving for local spaces that allow them to plug in and facilitate professional collaboration, have exposure to positive influence and tap into resources that assist them in defining their ideas.
And don’t forget to free your mind from the cliché stereotypes.
Not all spaces are modeled after a Google office, filled with bean bag chairs and ping-pong lounges. Not every town can thrive on technology and gaming. It’s quite the contrary.
“The entire model behind successful coworking space is that the structure and amenities reflect the needs of and fill a void within the community.”
Be that in the form of welders, artists or community outreach professionals, this is all about getting small businesses connected and invigorated around growth and opportunity.
Fiercely devoted and passionate about helping businesses grow, Jessi is the owner of LovelyPixels, a boutique design and marketing studio in the heart of downtown Martinsburg, WV.