It’s Black History month, and a great time to shed light on how black entrepreneurs are embracing and thriving in the coworking space culture. While it’s true that ethnic diversity and cultural integration have become distinguishing features of coworking space, black startups in particular have been flocking to coworking spaces across the country. Grassroots coworking movements in cities like Cleveland and Detroit have attracted local and ambitious young people of color, and are providing an outlet for creativity and inclusive innovation in all different sectors of the economy.
Embracing diversity has become a core value for coworking spaces of all kinds. That said, some of the most diverse coworking locations take it a step further. WE Labs, in Long Beach CA for example is a for-profit social enterprise that has made it one of their missions to support minority entrepreneurs and artists. They also pride themselves on recruiting local members directly from their community rather then from outside areas. Ponyride, a shared coworking facility in Detroit, is a non-profit whose mission is to “deploy social capital to a diverse group of artists, creative entrepreneurs and makers … committed to make communities in Detroit more sustainable.” Ponyride fosters collaboration, growth and creativity at low costs to companies with social missions to help improve local conditions and make Detroit a better place to live and work. Some spaces even offer a number of open days per month, where people can come in and work for free to test the space out.
Grassroots coworking spaces that focus on attracting local members are great for revitalizing a community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and spirit. Giving local members and businesses a chance to collaborate and create at affordable costs means that the local community will benefit.
Black owned coworking spaces are also starting to become more prevalent. There are currently about 56 black owned coworking spaces across the nation, and the number is growing. Many of these facilities, such as Tribe Co-Work and Urban Innovation Lab in Miami are located in predominately African American areas, and offer inclusive memberships in which the majority of members are African-American. This provides a safe work environment and outlet for people of color to discuss and foster tech ideas. According to Aaron Saunders, founder of Inclusive Innovation Incubator in Washington DC, before the rise of such coworking facilities, black people would hold conversations about technology and innovation in bars or clubs. The new found prevalence of black owned and operated coworking spaces has given people of color the professional environment necessary to take these conversations to the next level and fully get involved in the world of tech startups.
For more information on some of the most trendy and modern coworking spaces in the country, visit us at Turnkey Office Space and reach out with any questions!