Worcester State University opened its first entrepreneurial co-working space on Wednesday, Oct. 2, to further provide opportunities for budding entrepreneurs on campus.
“This space will build connections among members of the WSU community who want to pursue an opportunity beyond available resources,” says Elaine Vescio, director of entrepreneurship, who thought of the idea to add the co-working space on campus. “It will lower the barriers to access to information and other resources.”
An entrepreneurial co-working space allows people to work on startup ideas and new ventures. Co-working spaces are common features in cities that are known for their strong startup ecosystem. Typically at these locations, people organically gather when they are not at their “day job” in order to discuss their entrepreneurial ideas or ventures. It allows for entrepreneurial-minded people, who may not usually cross paths otherwise, to come together to share knowledge, provide guidance, and carve out a specific time that is dedicated to establishing new ventures, says Vescio.
“My role at WSU enables me to come across many entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs who are a part of the WSU community, but are largely working in isolation on their ideas, or not working on their ideas because they are unsure of how to get started,” says Vescio. “Through my years of working at startups and having started and grown my own business, I have witnessed and experienced the value of ongoing access to guidance and support, network building, and accountability.”
The co-working space is located in the Learning Resource Center, Room 236, and is open from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Anyone can walk in during this time without needing to sign up beforehand.
“A short-term goal is that co-working spaces for entrepreneurs will pop up all over campus: dorms, academic and administrative buildings, and the wellness center,” says Vescio. “Hopefully anyone who wants to get one going to match their schedule and needs will get one going. A longer-term goal is that an entrepreneurial mindset will expand throughout the campus. Entrepreneurship is more than just starting a company.”
The room for the co-working space includes whiteboards, movable tables, chairs, and a mega screen computer. These features support the ability to work, collaborate, and network. Vescio comes to this space each week during the designated entrepreneurial co-working time in order to act as a resource for staff, faculty, alumni, and students.
“Being an entrepreneur is a constant feeling of living on the edge,” says entrepreneur Renee Diaz ’12, founder and CEO of The Queen’s Cups and a member of the Worcester State Foundation Board. “You question yourself, wondering if what you are doing is needed or going to work. Other people in your life may think you’re crazy and they don’t understand where you are coming from. Being among others who are feeling this way too leaves you feeling less alone and more creative.”
The opportunity to engage with other entrepreneurs will help to transform ideas into reality, she says.
“I think that it is important for college students to learn about entrepreneurship because traditional jobs are not for everyone,” says Diaz. “The life of an entrepreneur is vastly different than what you can even account for. Being creative and bouncing ideas off other like-minded people can leave an impression, and that allows people to grow creatively outside of what they think they are supposed to do with their life.”
Experts involved in relevant areas, including intellectual property, legal business entity, and digital and graphic design, will also visit the co-working space to share their knowledge with others. The upcoming schedule of guest visitors will be released soon.
“Anyone can benefit from learning to think and act entrepreneurially, no matter their major, their career goals, or their stage in life,” says Vescio. “Plus, employers value these types of skills.”
For more information, contact Vescio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Julia Konow, Marketing and Communications Intern
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