Vermont Request - State Incentives

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -

···

Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

So channeling a bit of JFK, my answer to the state level support (and even city level support) is “Ask not what your state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.”

Here’s the thing: cities and states are used to being the provider of incentives and support. Coworking allows for a fundamentally different model where the members of a community that the coworking space serves are the direct supporters, rather than funneling things up to the city/state and then back down again.

It’s true - governments love coworking because it helps them with so many of their goals. It’s hard NOT to recognize the value that coworking can bring in the realm of economic development, cultural and creative inspiration, innovation, and more.

The thing is that as soon as they get involved, everything slows down. That slow down is by design, mind you. It’s their JOB to make things happen slowly, making time to consider a far wider constituency than a single community. I consider that a good thing in general for societies, but not a good thing for the entrepreneur that they aim to support. It’s a bit like tying yourself to a boat anchor but pretending it’s a rocket ship.

Gov’t institutions usually won’t admit it in public, but behind closed doors nearly every one that I’ve spoken to agrees that we don’t need them.

But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need us.

They can learn a lot from us. Collaboration isn’t something that gov’ts do well, and it’s something we do EXCEEDINGLY well. Same thing with innovation, marketing, community building…you get the picture.

There’s another interesting effect that I’ve seen: governments are USED to people coming to them asking for things. When you start to have a reputation as someone who doesn’t ask for things, it becomes really easy to talk to government people (because they’re not immediately on the defense) and it’s even easier to stand out from the crowd.

Even something as simple as getting a city official to vocally support something can make other things easier. We’ve been able to accelerate permits for projects and other annoying bureaucratic things because we didn’t ask for things when we didn’t need it, and instead focused on building relationships with people who work in government and helping them - our public servants - do their job.

It’s a fundamentally different approach than people are used to, but it’s an approach that I think hits on all 5 of the coworking core values, too.

-Alex

···

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM, lars hasselblad torres [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Always a delight reading your posts Alex!

I’d be very interested to know what’s the general view about cases when the government goes even further and sets up a government funded, and possibly run, coworking space. We find many places where the subsidies are so high that it becomes impossible or very difficult for other spaces to grow around them, even when they may be building different communities, price is always a big factor for many people. What’s the experience in your area? Do you think the fact the community is not directly contributing financially somehow affects how members perceive being part of that group? What about the decision making? In some cases, being funded externally means the direction and shaping of the community is no longer in the hands of that group of people, do you find this being the case?

Cheers

···

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:48:53 PM UTC, Alex Hillman wrote:

So channeling a bit of JFK, my answer to the state level support (and even city level support) is “Ask not what your state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.”

Here’s the thing: cities and states are used to being the provider of incentives and support. Coworking allows for a fundamentally different model where the members of a community that the coworking space serves are the direct supporters, rather than funneling things up to the city/state and then back down again.

It’s true - governments love coworking because it helps them with so many of their goals. It’s hard NOT to recognize the value that coworking can bring in the realm of economic development, cultural and creative inspiration, innovation, and more.

The thing is that as soon as they get involved, everything slows down. That slow down is by design, mind you. It’s their JOB to make things happen slowly, making time to consider a far wider constituency than a single community. I consider that a good thing in general for societies, but not a good thing for the entrepreneur that they aim to support. It’s a bit like tying yourself to a boat anchor but pretending it’s a rocket ship.

Gov’t institutions usually won’t admit it in public, but behind closed doors nearly every one that I’ve spoken to agrees that we don’t need them.

But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need us.

They can learn a lot from us. Collaboration isn’t something that gov’ts do well, and it’s something we do EXCEEDINGLY well. Same thing with innovation, marketing, community building…you get the picture.

There’s another interesting effect that I’ve seen: governments are USED to people coming to them asking for things. When you start to have a reputation as someone who doesn’t ask for things, it becomes really easy to talk to government people (because they’re not immediately on the defense) and it’s even easier to stand out from the crowd.

Even something as simple as getting a city official to vocally support something can make other things easier. We’ve been able to accelerate permits for projects and other annoying bureaucratic things because we didn’t ask for things when we didn’t need it, and instead focused on building relationships with people who work in government and helping them - our public servants - do their job.

It’s a fundamentally different approach than people are used to, but it’s an approach that I think hits on all 5 of the coworking core values, too.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM, lars hasselblad torres [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

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Can you cite an example?

Every example that I know of has struggled to build a community and suffers from high turnover and culture issues.

Worse, the existence of the subsidized desk share whatevers makes all of the nearby independent operators panic and do stupid things, which hurts THEIR business far more than the actual in-market competition does.

Don’t compete on price. Period. Ever. That’s an entry in the race to the bottom.

I don’t care who you think your competition is, it’s not another coworking space. Your competition is the living room/home office that somebody is sitting in right now, lonely and unproductive. Reality check: the gov’t subsidized space doesn’t know how to reach them any better than you do.

The only good examples I know of are how Gangplank works. More about that here: http://gangplankhq.com/2013/10/dangercast-6-gangplank-works-municipal-governments-2/

I think even Gangplank will admit that their model isn’t perfect, but it does a few key things:

  • It focuses on community participation rather than filling desks

  • It let’s the government stand behind great work in the community, like I described in my last post

My main criticism of these subsidy models is sustainability. When the winds change, and the funding needs to be redirected, will the Coworking community know how to survive on its own?

It’s a bit like spoiled children who don’t know that they’re spoiled. They’re useless in the real world and don’t know it until it’s too late.

So in general, I take a long view with government subsidies as well.

A) if the space can’t survive without the gov’ts subsidy, it’s not sustainable.

B) if the govt wants to get into the desk rental biz, let 'em. Stick to what you do and focus on your community. They can’t compete with that.

C) like most things, this isn’t unique to coworking. http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2010/12/on-economic-development-centers-and-coworking/

-Alex

···


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Adrian Palacios [email protected] wrote:

Always a delight reading your posts Alex!

I’d be very interested to know what’s the general view about cases when the government goes even further and sets up a government funded, and possibly run, coworking space. We find many places where the subsidies are so high that it becomes impossible or very difficult for other spaces to grow around them, even when they may be building different communities, price is always a big factor for many people. What’s the experience in your area? Do you think the fact the community is not directly contributing financially somehow affects how members perceive being part of that group? What about the decision making? In some cases, being funded externally means the direction and shaping of the community is no longer in the hands of that group of people, do you find this being the case?

Cheers

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:48:53 PM UTC, Alex Hillman wrote:

So channeling a bit of JFK, my answer to the state level support (and even city level support) is “Ask not what your state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.”

Here’s the thing: cities and states are used to being the provider of incentives and support. Coworking allows for a fundamentally different model where the members of a community that the coworking space serves are the direct supporters, rather than funneling things up to the city/state and then back down again.

It’s true - governments love coworking because it helps them with so many of their goals. It’s hard NOT to recognize the value that coworking can bring in the realm of economic development, cultural and creative inspiration, innovation, and more.

The thing is that as soon as they get involved, everything slows down. That slow down is by design, mind you. It’s their JOB to make things happen slowly, making time to consider a far wider constituency than a single community. I consider that a good thing in general for societies, but not a good thing for the entrepreneur that they aim to support. It’s a bit like tying yourself to a boat anchor but pretending it’s a rocket ship.

Gov’t institutions usually won’t admit it in public, but behind closed doors nearly every one that I’ve spoken to agrees that we don’t need them.

But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need us.

They can learn a lot from us. Collaboration isn’t something that gov’ts do well, and it’s something we do EXCEEDINGLY well. Same thing with innovation, marketing, community building…you get the picture.

There’s another interesting effect that I’ve seen: governments are USED to people coming to them asking for things. When you start to have a reputation as someone who doesn’t ask for things, it becomes really easy to talk to government people (because they’re not immediately on the defense) and it’s even easier to stand out from the crowd.

Even something as simple as getting a city official to vocally support something can make other things easier. We’ve been able to accelerate permits for projects and other annoying bureaucratic things because we didn’t ask for things when we didn’t need it, and instead focused on building relationships with people who work in government and helping them - our public servants - do their job.

It’s a fundamentally different approach than people are used to, but it’s an approach that I think hits on all 5 of the coworking core values, too.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM, lars hasselblad torres [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Yes, that’s also a very interesting point, what happens when the wind changes? My experience is only in the UK and Spain, but price is definitely a weapon for many over here, and having spaces around with hard subsides doesn’t seem to help that situation.

I guess is also long term vision/strategy vs quick return, it seems competing in price will fill those desks quicker, but as you have shared many times, it’s not just about that.

Interesting topic though, I’m sure it’ll be on the table more and more in the coming years.

···

On Friday, February 14, 2014 2:14:35 PM UTC, Alex Hillman wrote:

Can you cite an example?

Every example that I know of has struggled to build a community and suffers from high turnover and culture issues.

Worse, the existence of the subsidized desk share whatevers makes all of the nearby independent operators panic and do stupid things, which hurts THEIR business far more than the actual in-market competition does.

Don’t compete on price. Period. Ever. That’s an entry in the race to the bottom.

I don’t care who you think your competition is, it’s not another coworking space. Your competition is the living room/home office that somebody is sitting in right now, lonely and unproductive. Reality check: the gov’t subsidized space doesn’t know how to reach them any better than you do.

The only good examples I know of are how Gangplank works. More about that here: http://gangplankhq.com/2013/10/dangercast-6-gangplank-works-municipal-governments-2/

I think even Gangplank will admit that their model isn’t perfect, but it does a few key things:

  • It focuses on community participation rather than filling desks
  • It let’s the government stand behind great work in the community, like I described in my last post

My main criticism of these subsidy models is sustainability. When the winds change, and the funding needs to be redirected, will the Coworking community know how to survive on its own?

It’s a bit like spoiled children who don’t know that they’re spoiled. They’re useless in the real world and don’t know it until it’s too late.

So in general, I take a long view with government subsidies as well.

A) if the space can’t survive without the gov’ts subsidy, it’s not sustainable.

B) if the govt wants to get into the desk rental biz, let 'em. Stick to what you do and focus on your community. They can’t compete with that.

C) like most things, this isn’t unique to coworking. http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2010/12/on-economic-development-centers-and-coworking/

-Alex


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Adrian Palacios [email protected] wrote:

Always a delight reading your posts Alex!

I’d be very interested to know what’s the general view about cases when the government goes even further and sets up a government funded, and possibly run, coworking space. We find many places where the subsidies are so high that it becomes impossible or very difficult for other spaces to grow around them, even when they may be building different communities, price is always a big factor for many people. What’s the experience in your area? Do you think the fact the community is not directly contributing financially somehow affects how members perceive being part of that group? What about the decision making? In some cases, being funded externally means the direction and shaping of the community is no longer in the hands of that group of people, do you find this being the case?

Cheers

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:48:53 PM UTC, Alex Hillman wrote:

So channeling a bit of JFK, my answer to the state level support (and even city level support) is “Ask not what your state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.”

Here’s the thing: cities and states are used to being the provider of incentives and support. Coworking allows for a fundamentally different model where the members of a community that the coworking space serves are the direct supporters, rather than funneling things up to the city/state and then back down again.

It’s true - governments love coworking because it helps them with so many of their goals. It’s hard NOT to recognize the value that coworking can bring in the realm of economic development, cultural and creative inspiration, innovation, and more.

The thing is that as soon as they get involved, everything slows down. That slow down is by design, mind you. It’s their JOB to make things happen slowly, making time to consider a far wider constituency than a single community. I consider that a good thing in general for societies, but not a good thing for the entrepreneur that they aim to support. It’s a bit like tying yourself to a boat anchor but pretending it’s a rocket ship.

Gov’t institutions usually won’t admit it in public, but behind closed doors nearly every one that I’ve spoken to agrees that we don’t need them.

But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need us.

They can learn a lot from us. Collaboration isn’t something that gov’ts do well, and it’s something we do EXCEEDINGLY well. Same thing with innovation, marketing, community building…you get the picture.

There’s another interesting effect that I’ve seen: governments are USED to people coming to them asking for things. When you start to have a reputation as someone who doesn’t ask for things, it becomes really easy to talk to government people (because they’re not immediately on the defense) and it’s even easier to stand out from the crowd.

Even something as simple as getting a city official to vocally support something can make other things easier. We’ve been able to accelerate permits for projects and other annoying bureaucratic things because we didn’t ask for things when we didn’t need it, and instead focused on building relationships with people who work in government and helping them - our public servants - do their job.

It’s a fundamentally different approach than people are used to, but it’s an approach that I think hits on all 5 of the coworking core values, too.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM, lars hasselblad torres [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Yes!

  1. Low interest loans, say $100K, that can be written down 20% per year for donation of space to non-profits, government and community group usage. We’ve got some reports showing public benefits of coworking spaces. (Email me if you want them.)

  2. Since benefits are really split about ⅓-⅓-⅓ between personal, corporate and public, provide a portion of the startup capital outright for TI’s, that the center would have to find otherwise.

  3. They have lists of all the home-based businesses in the area. Survey them to see what their needs are. (We’ve got a list of survey questions.)

I’ll stop there…

Barbara

The Satellite

···

On Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:50:12 PM UTC-8, lhtorres wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

I’m starting a
coworking space in Kenosha, Wisconsin that’s basically a government funded / non-profit model. To answer your question, Lars, here are some of the government programs that have helped us get traction on the project (not open yet, but moving along):

  • Grants -
    the Wisconsin Economic Development Coalition (WEDC) has a state-funded program that will pay 25% of the expenses for any incubator / coworking /
    growth accelerator program, up to $250,000 (a.k.a. $1 million project).
    What’s really cool is that it includes in-kind donations, so like marketing from local colleges and such can contribute to the reimbursement check. This is obviously one of our big funding sources.
  • Economic Development Organization
    • I’m working with Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), a well-run organization with a LOT of top-level connections. They also have a mandate to open an incubator / coworking space and have provided a huge amount of support in helping get it set-up.
  • Private - Public Partnerships
    • We’re setting the organization up as a non-profit, so that we can accept donations from large organizations and they can write that off. The most substantial is for our space. We’re planning on opening in an 7,500 sf unused space in the Kenosha News, since they got rid of their printing presses a few years ago. They’re donating the space (at least for the first few years), so that they can have access to the synergy of
      a media coworking space in their offices, but let others have the responsibilities of running it. Plus, they haven’t been able to use or lease it, so the tax write-off generates more income than it has for years. This connection was setup via KABA.
  • Internship programs
    • several of the local colleges have expressed interest in having interns working out of the space, which gives their students a ton of advantages.
      Also, the government is pretty much for starting up. After that, it will be sustained on market-rate membership rates, like privately-held coworking spaces.

So it’s not just the government writing you checks (although SUPER helpful), but also providing you connections to other organizations and resources, both private and things they already do.

Also, I think others have written up wishlists of legislation that would help coworking (mostly on the federal level):

  • recognition that coworking is NOT passive-income and thus eligible for SBA loan funding
  • a dedicated NAICS code would simplify things
  • more dedicated funding - actually, Brad Schneider just introduced legislation for this.
    I
    think I saw some threads on here about people gripping about particular
    issues they’ve had with local government. Might be worth searching for and/or googling around the web for.

Once we’re up and running, I’m looking forward to sharing more of what works (and what doesn’t) about working with the government and a non-profit board of directors. But until then, I hope this helps.

  • Brendan

I agree with you Alex! It’s easy to be seduced by the allure of govt money but there is no long term guarantee. It sure would help in the short run when you are just trying to get by and keep the doors open…

Cindi Abribat
Partner

T.E.A.Factory Co

the art of work is a work of art…

Create, Community, Collaborate

610-223-5569

···

On Feb 14, 2014, at 9:14 AM, “Alex Hillman” [email protected] wrote:

Can you cite an example?

Every example that I know of has struggled to build a community and suffers from high turnover and culture issues.

Worse, the existence of the subsidized desk share whatevers makes all of the nearby independent operators panic and do stupid things, which hurts THEIR business far more than the actual in-market competition does.

Don’t compete on price. Period. Ever. That’s an entry in the race to the bottom.

I don’t care who you think your competition is, it’s not another coworking space. Your competition is the living room/home office that somebody is sitting in right now, lonely and unproductive. Reality check: the gov’t subsidized space doesn’t know how to reach them any better than you do.

The only good examples I know of are how Gangplank works. More about that here: http://gangplankhq.com/2013/10/dangercast-6-gangplank-works-municipal-governments-2/

I think even Gangplank will admit that their model isn’t perfect, but it does a few key things:

  • It focuses on community participation rather than filling desks
  • It let’s the government stand behind great work in the community, like I described in my last post

My main criticism of these subsidy models is sustainability. When the winds change, and the funding needs to be redirected, will the Coworking community know how to survive on its own?

It’s a bit like spoiled children who don’t know that they’re spoiled. They’re useless in the real world and don’t know it until it’s too late.

So in general, I take a long view with government subsidies as well.

A) if the space can’t survive without the gov’ts subsidy, it’s not sustainable.

B) if the govt wants to get into the desk rental biz, let 'em. Stick to what you do and focus on your community. They can’t compete with that.

C) like most things, this isn’t unique to coworking. http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2010/12/on-economic-development-centers-and-coworking/

-Alex


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Adrian Palacios [email protected] wrote:

Always a delight reading your posts Alex!

I’d be very interested to know what’s the general view about cases when the government goes even further and sets up a government funded, and possibly run, coworking space. We find many places where the subsidies are so high that it becomes impossible or very difficult for other spaces to grow around them, even when they may be building different communities, price is always a big factor for many people. What’s the experience in your area? Do you think the fact the community is not directly contributing financially somehow affects how members perceive being part of that group? What about the decision making? In some cases, being funded externally means the direction and shaping of the community is no longer in the hands of that group of people, do you find this being the case?

Cheers

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:48:53 PM UTC, Alex Hillman wrote:

So channeling a bit of JFK, my answer to the state level support (and even city level support) is “Ask not what your state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.”

Here’s the thing: cities and states are used to being the provider of incentives and support. Coworking allows for a fundamentally different model where the members of a community that the coworking space serves are the direct supporters, rather than funneling things up to the city/state and then back down again.

It’s true - governments love coworking because it helps them with so many of their goals. It’s hard NOT to recognize the value that coworking can bring in the realm of economic development, cultural and creative inspiration, innovation, and more.

The thing is that as soon as they get involved, everything slows down. That slow down is by design, mind you. It’s their JOB to make things happen slowly, making time to consider a far wider constituency than a single community. I consider that a good thing in general for societies, but not a good thing for the entrepreneur that they aim to support. It’s a bit like tying yourself to a boat anchor but pretending it’s a rocket ship.

Gov’t institutions usually won’t admit it in public, but behind closed doors nearly every one that I’ve spoken to agrees that we don’t need them.

But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need us.

They can learn a lot from us. Collaboration isn’t something that gov’ts do well, and it’s something we do EXCEEDINGLY well. Same thing with innovation, marketing, community building…you get the picture.

There’s another interesting effect that I’ve seen: governments are USED to people coming to them asking for things. When you start to have a reputation as someone who doesn’t ask for things, it becomes really easy to talk to government people (because they’re not immediately on the defense) and it’s even easier to stand out from the crowd.

Even something as simple as getting a city official to vocally support something can make other things easier. We’ve been able to accelerate permits for projects and other annoying bureaucratic things because we didn’t ask for things when we didn’t need it, and instead focused on building relationships with people who work in government and helping them - our public servants - do their job.

It’s a fundamentally different approach than people are used to, but it’s an approach that I think hits on all 5 of the coworking core values, too.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM, lars hasselblad torres [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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“It sure would help in the short run when you are just trying to get by and keep the doors open…”

Short term solutions and long term problems don’t go well together. That’s the kind of thinking that keeps addicts addicted. “Just one more hit, then I’ll clean up for good.”

Don’t delay the inevitable, change the equation.

-Alex

···


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 8:56 AM, Cindi [email protected] wrote:

I agree with you Alex! It’s easy to be seduced by the allure of govt money but there is no long term guarantee. It sure would help in the short run when you are just trying to get by and keep the doors open…

Cindi Abribat
Partner

T.E.A.Factory Co

the art of work is a work of art…

Create, Community, Collaborate

610-223-5569

On Feb 14, 2014, at 9:14 AM, “Alex Hillman” [email protected] wrote:

Can you cite an example?

Every example that I know of has struggled to build a community and suffers from high turnover and culture issues.

Worse, the existence of the subsidized desk share whatevers makes all of the nearby independent operators panic and do stupid things, which hurts THEIR business far more than the actual in-market competition does.

Don’t compete on price. Period. Ever. That’s an entry in the race to the bottom.

I don’t care who you think your competition is, it’s not another coworking space. Your competition is the living room/home office that somebody is sitting in right now, lonely and unproductive. Reality check: the gov’t subsidized space doesn’t know how to reach them any better than you do.

The only good examples I know of are how Gangplank works. More about that here: http://gangplankhq.com/2013/10/dangercast-6-gangplank-works-municipal-governments-2/

I think even Gangplank will admit that their model isn’t perfect, but it does a few key things:

  • It focuses on community participation rather than filling desks
  • It let’s the government stand behind great work in the community, like I described in my last post

My main criticism of these subsidy models is sustainability. When the winds change, and the funding needs to be redirected, will the Coworking community know how to survive on its own?

It’s a bit like spoiled children who don’t know that they’re spoiled. They’re useless in the real world and don’t know it until it’s too late.

So in general, I take a long view with government subsidies as well.

A) if the space can’t survive without the gov’ts subsidy, it’s not sustainable.

B) if the govt wants to get into the desk rental biz, let 'em. Stick to what you do and focus on your community. They can’t compete with that.

C) like most things, this isn’t unique to coworking. http://dangerouslyawesome.com/2010/12/on-economic-development-centers-and-coworking/

-Alex


/ah
indyhall.org
betterwork.co

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Adrian Palacios [email protected] wrote:

Always a delight reading your posts Alex!

I’d be very interested to know what’s the general view about cases when the government goes even further and sets up a government funded, and possibly run, coworking space. We find many places where the subsidies are so high that it becomes impossible or very difficult for other spaces to grow around them, even when they may be building different communities, price is always a big factor for many people. What’s the experience in your area? Do you think the fact the community is not directly contributing financially somehow affects how members perceive being part of that group? What about the decision making? In some cases, being funded externally means the direction and shaping of the community is no longer in the hands of that group of people, do you find this being the case?

Cheers

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 4:48:53 PM UTC, Alex Hillman wrote:

So channeling a bit of JFK, my answer to the state level support (and even city level support) is “Ask not what your state can do for you, but what you can do for your state.”

Here’s the thing: cities and states are used to being the provider of incentives and support. Coworking allows for a fundamentally different model where the members of a community that the coworking space serves are the direct supporters, rather than funneling things up to the city/state and then back down again.

It’s true - governments love coworking because it helps them with so many of their goals. It’s hard NOT to recognize the value that coworking can bring in the realm of economic development, cultural and creative inspiration, innovation, and more.

The thing is that as soon as they get involved, everything slows down. That slow down is by design, mind you. It’s their JOB to make things happen slowly, making time to consider a far wider constituency than a single community. I consider that a good thing in general for societies, but not a good thing for the entrepreneur that they aim to support. It’s a bit like tying yourself to a boat anchor but pretending it’s a rocket ship.

Gov’t institutions usually won’t admit it in public, but behind closed doors nearly every one that I’ve spoken to agrees that we don’t need them.

But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need us.

They can learn a lot from us. Collaboration isn’t something that gov’ts do well, and it’s something we do EXCEEDINGLY well. Same thing with innovation, marketing, community building…you get the picture.

There’s another interesting effect that I’ve seen: governments are USED to people coming to them asking for things. When you start to have a reputation as someone who doesn’t ask for things, it becomes really easy to talk to government people (because they’re not immediately on the defense) and it’s even easier to stand out from the crowd.

Even something as simple as getting a city official to vocally support something can make other things easier. We’ve been able to accelerate permits for projects and other annoying bureaucratic things because we didn’t ask for things when we didn’t need it, and instead focused on building relationships with people who work in government and helping them - our public servants - do their job.

It’s a fundamentally different approach than people are used to, but it’s an approach that I think hits on all 5 of the coworking core values, too.

-Alex

/ah
indyhall.org

coworking in philadelphia

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM, lars hasselblad torres [email protected] wrote:

Hello hello!

We’ve got great pow up here in the northeast as we watch the festivities in Sochi - feeling pretty good to be the home of snowboarding and slopestyle talent right now! Hope all my fellow coworking colleagues are having a good time with the Olympics too.

So, again, want to state my thanks for all the help folks here provided on the development of the coworking guide we put out last year - we’ve really seen a spike in interest, with plenty of opportunities to offer insight and support since the report, “Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide” went up (http://local64.com/coworking).

And with this success, we have state interest: the Vermont legislature would really like to do something to help coworking spaces get up and running. They recognize the value coworking spaces can bring to our historic downtowns on many levels.

And I have to confess: I don’t entirely know what to tell them. My story is about bootstrapping, and how the biggest incentive I found would be the ability to write down ALL my startup expenses for furniture and equipment year one instead of amortization. BUT since that’s not going to happen…

Any ideas on state supports or incentives for coworking that could flow to the entrepreneur, not the landlord or developer (sometimes they are the same but it seems rare. And there are other state tax credits for historic buildings, etc). Fishing for ideas and best practices.

Thank you. Peace -


Lars Hasselblad Torres

local64.com | create + play + share

Snag our weekly newsletter here: http://ow.ly/gRyRo

@local64vt | 802-595-0605

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

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Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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