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HCBC opens new CoWorks space for entrepreneurs, startups

The Hamilton County Business Center is Cincinnati's oldest incubator, and has evolved over the decades as the economy has changed.

Startups are leaner and meaner now than ever before, and HCBC is piloting the region's latest coworking space, where small businesses can get many of the benefits of being in an incubator without the higher overhead.

HCBC's CoWorks had a very quiet launch late last fall. With three businesses in the space, which is located in Norwood, Executive Director Pat Longo is now getting the word out about HCBC.

"This has grown out of our affiliate program," Longo says. "There were companies that weren't yet ready to apply for the incubator but they wanted to be around it."

HCBC has recently upgraded its conference room space, which has been attractive to small companies like SCORE, SBDC and Meetups that want to present themselves more professionally, says Longo.

HCBC has 45 companies that last year generated over $18 million in revenues, accessed over $8 million in capital and created nearly 50 jobs.

Renting CoWorks space on a month-to-month basis starts at $75 per month, and includes:
  • 24-hour, 7-day-a-week access
  • WiFi
  • Concierge and receptionist services
  • Free parking
  • Fax, scanner and copier services
  • Kitchen
  • Up to four hours per month of conference room use
  • A mailing address
"We talk about having an entrepreneurial ecosystem, but I like to think of (HCBC) as a coral reef," Longo says. "We have a lot of life, people can grow, there is lots of nourishment and places to go and hide if you need a quiet place to work."

CoWorkers will have access to the incubator entrepreneurial atmosphere, programming and resources. Some are free, while others have a fee attached.

"They'll get the benefits of being a client," Long says. "And we hope when they are ready, they'll move into the incubator."

Currently, there is space for about 12 companies, with potential room to grow. Interested businesses can find out more on the CoWorks website, where interpreters can fill out an application.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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