Co-working options grow thanks to Cincinnati's expanding pool of independent professionals

As Cincinnati’s urban renaissance continues, several sectors of the local economy have seen rapid growth. The emergent startup community in Cincinnati has created an influx of entrepreneurial talent, and with it has come growing numbers of designers, marketers and creative thinkers.
In cities where these and other small businesses and sole proprietorships flourish, a byproduct is an increasingly large workforce that works remotely, not necessarily tied to an office space, but more prone to coffee shops or home offices. And with the proliferation of this new segment of the workforce, co-working spaces are on the rise.

Coworking provides a physical space for members that gives them access to office amenities (Wifi, copiers, printers, conference roomts, etc.) without necessarily having to abide by all of the other standards of an office. Given that these spaces are looking to attract creatives of all different types, each co-working space takes on a different aesthetic and may focus on specific niches, such as tech or branding.
Nationally and internationally, Wework represents one of the largest companies in the co-working arena, with shops in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Seattle, Israel, London and more. Wework alone has a dozen co-working spaces in New York, to say nothing of the countless others that exist in the city. More and more spaces have continued to open across the country as members report a boost in productivity from the added human interaction.
Here in Cincinnati, co-working has had a foothold for many years, and the options for professionals looking for co-working spaces have continued to grow, albeit not quite at the rate of many other cities.  
Below is a list of Cincinnati co-working spaces, which will no doubt continue to expand.
Planted squarely in the heart of the nascent startup community, Cintrifuse touts itself as “more than a co-working space” and there can be no denying that. In addition to offering premium, modern downtown office space “ideal for small teams that have grown out of the coffee shop,” Cintrifuse boasts deep connections in the business, tech and entrepreneurial communities. They provide access to mentoring, venture capital firms, talent and events. All of their services are designed specifically to help high-growth startups.
“There’s an ambient kind of learning that occurs when you surround yourself with people who are dealing with and working through the same kinds of issues you are,” says Cindy Daumeyer, Director of Operations and Management at Cintrifuse. “In addition to being around entrepreneurs who are dealing with those same issues, we make sure to connect them with local experts who have solved them in the past and can help along the way.”
While it occupies its current space on East 6th street, Cintrifuse is in the process of building out a 38,000-square-foot “innovation campus” in Over-the-Rhine that should be ready by late 2015. Cintrifuse currently has just under 100 members, many of which are residents who work out of the building, and some simply use the network/resources provided. Cintrifuse provides free tours of the facility every Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Cowork Cincy
Located in North Avondale, Cowork Cincy was opened by a company called SoTechie Spaces based in New York City. As if the name didn’t give it away enough, SoTechie focuses on entrepreneurs and innovators in the tech sector looking for a shared community work environment. SoTechie opened its doors in NYC in 2010 and arrived in Cincinnati this past fall.

"We've seen that Cincinnati is really starting to put a big emphasis on tech and innovation. We want to help build up a community here around that," says Nancy Gonzalez, Director of SoTechie Spaces. "We saw that both Xavier University and University of Cincinnati have entrepreneurship programs, so we found a space that is close to both that could offer space for young entrepreneurs to come and work out of."
Currently, the Cowork Cincy space has a temporary co-working space set up directly next to the building that it's beginning construction on now, which will be the future home of the space. Among its perks, Cowork Cincy offers standards like high-speed Internet and the use of printer/copier/scanner as well as membership in a national community of co-working business and technology professionals, and special discounts on Zipcar, hotels, legal services and more. After the Cincinnati space is completed, SoTechie is looking to open locations in several other cities around the country.
Hamilton County Development Company

Tucked away on a neighborhood street in Norwood, the Hamilton County Development Company (HCDC) has been in business for more than 25 years and lays claim to one of the region’s oldest business incubators. Just over a year ago, however, HCDC decided to dedicate some square footage within its business center to a co-working space.
“We were being approached by a variety of entrepreneurs that didn’t fit the incubator, but they wanted a space where they could get some coaching,” says Pat Longo, Director of the Hamilton County Business Center. “They didn’t need their own office, they wanted to be in an environment around other startups, they wanted access to conference rooms, programming and 24/7 access, so we gave it to them.”
The co-working space at HCDC is a modest 1,300 square feet, geared toward early stage entrepreneurs. In addition to the standard fare of amenities, it offers concierge and receptionist services, complimentary parking, and access to business coaches and the Greater Cincinnati Entrepreneur Assistance Ecosystem.
“What makes a co-working space great is if it creates a community that offers chances to create valuable connections," Longo says. “Our coaching allows us to do that, which I think is different than many other spaces.
Crossroads/The Ocean
While Crossroads and the Ocean are two separate organizations, many of the same people are involved with both and they're located next to each other.
Crossroads has been developing a community of entrepreneurs, independent thinkers and workers for over a year now. The Oakley-based churched launched Unpolished in June of 2013, a meetup group designed to encourage, educate and engage entrepreneurs within the Crossroads community. Then some of the same people behind that group went on to form the Ocean Accelerator.
“We piloted a co-working program here at Crossroads a few months ago in the atrium,” says Tim Brunk, one of the leaders of the Unpolished group. “We had over 50 people come in on that day and work side by side. We knew we wanted to make it a more regular thing after that.”
What makes this group unique is the concept of how a faith-based community can support and strengthen the members' businesses.
“On a personal level, my business got off the ground and running through connections and partnerships and working together with other people in that Crossroads Atrium,” Brunk says.
Currently, co-working at Crossroads doesn't follow a set schedule, but Brunk hopes that it will become a weekly occurrence this fall. As for the Ocean, the space is currently being built out on the Crossroads campus and will included dedicated co-working space that should be ready by winter or spring of 2015.

MOVE is certainly the newest to arrive on Cincinnati’s coworking scene, having just had their launch party this past Friday. They may also be the most unique space, not just in terms of the physical space itself, but also in their mission, offerings and aesthetic.
“I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for the last three-and-a-half years and there were probably four to five co-working spaces just within a few miles of where I was,” says Patrich Hitches, co-founder of MOVE. “Co-working there opened me up to how much collaboration, new ideas and new people can impact your life. It creates an environment where people from different backgrounds, expertise can create a community. I knew I wanted that here in Cincinnati.”
What makes Hitches and co-founder Ryan Meo’s vision unique is that in addition to building a community of entrepreneurs, they’ve built a community based around health and fitness and are cross-pollinating the two with MOVE.

Located at the intersection of the Brighton, Over-the-Rhine and West End neighborhoods, MOVE seeks to motivate its members mentally and physically. The workspace is attached the Foundation Fitness gym and promises to be full of energy, motivation and “people taking breaks to climb ropes, sneak in a few squats or flip the tires a few times.”
“The idea is that being active and healthy helps to spark creativity, productivity and innovation,” Hitches says. “We merge work and play to help our members reach their own personal potential in both body and career.”
Platform 53
While MOVE is technically the newest on the block, Platform 53 in Covington is somehow both newer and older. Platform 53 technically launched in January 2012 at Northern Kentucky University’s Startup Weekend, but will actually open its first beta location on September 1, 2014, to kickstart its co-working community.
While many co-working spaces are tech/startup heavy, Platform 53 is building a group that isn’t just tech focused.
“The magic happens when you bring together people from different walks of life,” says Stacy Kessler, co-founder of Platform 53. “Between 30-40 percent of the workforce doesn’t work in an office these days, between telecommuters, freelancers and more.”
Platform 53 has already built a community of beta members who work in a variety of areas including cinematography, web development, graphic design, data analysis, communications, entertainment management and more. The staff is still building out its list of beta members and promising special perks to people who get in early, including input into the creation of the space, member discounts, recognition as a founding member and more.
“It’s great that there are spaces that are focusing on specific things like high tech, but we want to be open to more than that,” Kessler says. “Our community culture is very different; we want to build a very tightknit kind of place, and that’s why we’ve spent all of this time building the community before we even have our dedicated space.”
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