Brunswick Community College Unveils New Coworking Space
The new coworking space at Brunswick Community College’s Leland campus provides the professional space that entrepreneurs and small businesses need for growth.
In Brunswick County you can be whatever you want to be. With both strong farming heritage inland and thriving tourism on the coasts, there are so many options. And now, with the opening of the very first coworking space in Brunswick County, another set of dreamers and achievers — the entrepreneurs and small business owners — will find a happy home in Brunswick County.
Coworking isn’t a new concept. Spaces across the country have been in existence for years and take many different forms. But they all serve the same purpose: to provide professional business space to small businesses and entrepreneurs for meetings, work and collaboration. The clientele is those who have invested in their own company but are still working at their kitchen table or home office, without brick and mortar locations. There are various models in existence regarding monthly fees and memberships. But here in Brunswick County, requirements will be light for the first coworking space. The goal is simply to provide infrastructure to grow small businesses.
Entrepreneurs will be selected by an application process. While there will be monthly memberships available, there will also be the option for Daily Dose visitors — those who just want to drop in for the day.
Brunswick County is the first rural county to open a coworking space. It is the result of innovative thinking by the Small Business Center at Brunswick Community College (BCC). The center saw an empty space near the incubator at their Leland campus and worked quickly and efficiently to clean it up and make way for a coworking space. To be clear, to them this program isn’t about turning a profit for BCC, it’s about the health of Brunswick County.
April Scott, BCC Small Business Center director, knows what entrepreneurs are looking for, having been one herself. After leading The Carousel Center then getting an advanced degree, she started her own consulting business. “When I had my own business and was working from home, it was so easy to get distracted,” Scott shares.
Drawing on personal experience and after hearing many business owners share how they had client meetings in coffee shops or took phone calls in parking lots, Scott realized how much need there was for a space where entrepreneurs could have a professional space to work without paying office overhead. So she set about solving the problem. Scott toured various coworking spaces in the region, performed information gathering and then took the proposal to BCC Vice President of Economic Workforce Development and Continuing Education Velva Jenkins, who was immediately supportive. The two ran it through all appropriate channels and solicited input, and in a fairly short amount of time BCC told them to make it happen. Everyone loved the idea of finding a way to encourage entrepreneurs to make Brunswick County their home.
“The more we can offer [small businesses], the more likely they are to stay,” Scott says. “And having a space for people who aren’t in business to think about turning their hustle or their passion into a true business is important. The more help they have, the better equipped they are to survive.”
While the space will offer services such as laptops, state-of-the-art technology, printing and scanning services, a coffee bar and a private conference room for members to reserve, the unique magic will happen in the collaboration.
Once a month Scott will organize a cohort of professionals at the coworking space. Members will be invited to attend and various experts around the county will host talks and answer questions on topics such as marketing, legal contracts, eCommerce and more.
“There are people out there who are truly entrepreneurs, they just don’t know how to get started,” Scott says, providing one explanation as to why these cohorts are a central component of BCC’s mission.
The space is light and open. Comfortable study carrels and a whiteboard encourage members to relax and share. It is a place that invites brainstorming and big dreaming.
When Scott considers what this means to Brunswick County, she isn’t looking at one potential business owner’s bottom line and earnings, but at the effect investing in small business has on the entire region.
“Economic development is a forever-going topic and I am all about a great big company coming to Brunswick County, that’s great,” Scott says. “But I really believe that in any community, but especially a rural one, if we invest in small businesses, especially the mom and pops with their kids, it will pay off for our economy. They live here, they own houses, their kids go to school here. They are invested in this community. And I think if we can offer them the support they need, they will stay.”
Want to get to work?
The Small Business Center’s new coworking space is located at the Leland Campus of Brunswick Community College at 2045 Enterprise Boulevard. To learn more, call (910) 755-7306 or email April Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.