Coworking has come a long way since spaces like The Speak Easy and Launch Fishers first proved the model here in Indiana. Representatives from 15 different coworking spaces & innovation hubs around the state attended the first annual Indiana Coworking Passport Summit at Launch Fishers on September 11.
The Indiana Coworking Passport allows any member of a participating space to cowork at any other participating space a day each month for free.
The positive impact these spaces are having on Indiana’s startup communities is reflected in Executive Director of the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Jacob Schpok’s prediction that Indiana will grow from about 30 to more than 100 coworking spaces over the next five years. Nationally, coworking growth remains steady. A study by deskmag reports that 90% of coworking spaces surveyed are forecasting growth in their memberships, and 60% of respondents are also planning physical expansions of their coworking spaces.
I shared some observations on the state of coworking in our state.
1.) Coworking is 21st Century Infrastructure
- Communities that invest in coworking are saying something about themselves; those that don’t are saying more
- Organic economic development is an important part of building strong communities
2.) Coworking Supports Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship
- Innovation-driven startups have different DNA when compared to traditional small businesses
- Importance of ad-hoc teaming
- Serendipitous collisions
- Serve as gathering places
3.) Coworking Locations & Innovation Hubs Play an Important Cultural Role in Their Communities
- Entrepreneurial ecosystems rely on “quality of place” to attract, develop & retain great entrepreneurs
- Aggregate startup talent and energy
- Foundational support of entrepreneurship & innovation
4.) Communities Can Start Small and Grow Along With the Movement
- Launch Terre Haute started with just two rooms and the will to make something happen.
5.) There Will Be 100 of These in Indiana Within the Next Five Years!
- At Launch Fishers alone we have toured about 20 delegations from cities and towns in Indiana
For additional thinking on coworking and entrepreneurship, I strongly recommend the book Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld.
What observations do you have about coworking in Indiana? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.