reflections

We had two really great meetings this week.

One with Laura Petrella, CEO of the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce and one with Patricia Pell, Home business Network Leader & Brad Nellis, Director of Member Networks for COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises).

Cuyahoga Falls Chamber

Laura was extremely helpful. No sooner had we left the meeting than she had several emails waiting for me in my inbox — all pointing me to local lots that were available and city programs designed to encourage economic growth in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. Stuff that would have taken us hours to track down ourselves, she was able to zero in on immediately.

She understood the concept of coworking and immediately got it.

That and Laura is just an extremely savvy & gregarious person. It was kind of cool because she mentioned she was reading Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, one of my favorites. We quickly agreed she was a ‘connector’ — someone who’s able to bring people together to make things happen — to paraphrase Gladwell.

Needless to say Cuyahoga Falls is looking very attractive as a place to launch our first location.

It’s centrally located, it’s lots of green areas — and a progressive mayor with a great vision for the area.

COSE

Both Pat and Brad provided us with great insight.

While they hadn’t heard of coworking before they quickly caught the vision. We talked a little about the distinction between a coworking facility and what something like Regus offers.

The answer – community, collaboration, and a more relaxed approach to business.

COSE has a great program, which I wasn’t aware of before contacting them a few weeks ago — the Home-Based Business Network. The program has about 4,000 solo entrepreneurs in their network.

Obviously, we’d love to get an introduction to their members — not in a salesy type of way — but in an effort to learn what their expectations might be for a coworking facility and if they’d be interested in helping us define the right model for their needs.

At the very least, I can say we’ll probably be sponsoring some of their upcoming newsletters or running some space ads on their site.

Conclusion

So far, everyone in the local business community has been intrigued by the idea of coworking and is supportive of bringing these facilities to Northeast Ohio (NEO).

Something changed in my mind this week – it’s no longer ‘if’ we’re going to forward, it’s ‘when & where.’

I’m now tentatively looking at October 2008 to be the launch date.

I think we’ll be able to nail that down better once we have a location selected.

As of right now, Cuyahoga Falls is the front runner. But in we’ll want to do some looking around before we commit to anything.

If you’d like to weigh in on where we should launch in NEO….please let us know!

photo credit: tangy wolf

2 Responses to “A Little Love for Our Local Chambers…”
  1. Brian Layman

    Well, I have to say it is great to see this movement hitting the region. After spending SxSW week with Alex Hillman of http://www.IndyHall.org I was ready to start one of these myself. I understand your dilema of where to put the first location as I’ve been tossing the ideas around in my mind for the last month. I do think that the falls offers the best location as you pickup traffic from both north and south. You don’t have the innercity traffic of Akron to deal with and frankly that makes it quicker to reach.

    I do think that you need to add another basic membership level to you plans for people that want to join, if just to get their name on the list and get that 1 visit per month AND a discount for future visits. It’s a hook, plus it gets their name out there as a member of the co-worker community.

    Hopefully we’ll bump into each other online sometime. This is exciting!

    (BTW you have changed your permalink structure. So the link that you have the co-working wiki is in the old format. I tried to update it for you but didn’t want to have to create a pbwiki wiki just to get a login. The new parmalink structure of course just drops the date…)

    Cheers!

  2. gonzalo

    Well, I don’t think we have the event on Upcoming.org so I’m not sure who all is coming but Brian and I are gueenatrad to be there which should make the event worth it all by itself! LOL. I’d say from Newcomerstown, Akron is probably an hour drive eh?

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