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SParkInnovation

People tend to forget that successful entrepreneurs start with nothing more than a big idea they have in an office, in the shower, or working in their basement. Finding resources and relationships to help execute that idea is the exciting challenge.

New Haven is a community where innovative people can grow those ideas into real businesses without the pressures (or price tag) of a big city. Shout out to local tech companies like SeeClickFix, Knock Media and Technolutions, local biotechs like Arvinas and RxGen, and social leaders like Data Haven and the Greater New Haven Community Foundation, which have helped create and sustain a startup-friendly scene.

For the past decade, co-working space has supported creative people in New Haven working toward making those scribbles on a napkin a reality or taking their business to the next level. Besides the pioneers at The Grove, who first brought co-working to the area in 2009, New Haven now has a range of co-working options to consider.

While looking for a co-working solution that’s right for you, keep these aspects in mind:

(Click here for an overview of the questions as a downloadable PDF.)

Network

On your hunt for the coveted co-working space, consider the network it offers. No one achieves anything alone. Even if you’re a self-starter, helping others helps you. Find a work space filled with people who have goals that align with yours. The Grove is an example of a New Haven space that unites people with a desire to create a better world through the work that they do. A collaborative group of nonprofit and for-profit professionals, The Grove hosts events for skill sharing, mentorship and networking. (They sometimes serve pancakes!) Hub55 has a ready-made network that proactively helps its international members leverage professional relationships with local companies and associations.

Ask Yourself:
  • Will there be companies or professionals working in a similar industry?
  • Are there events that foster relationships that could eventually become funders, partners or employees?
  • What is the community feel –– collaborative, utilitarian?
Atmosphere

One thing that pushes freelancers and entrepreneurs to make the switch from a home office, or working at a coffee shop to a co-working space is the need for a professional atmosphere. At home, dishes, laundry and pets are distracting. Coffee shops are nice until you pick up that account that expects an office space for meetings. In that case, you might consider Regus, located in the Connecticut Financial Center. A sophisticated option, it has front door security with sign-ins and elevator banks. Ultimately, you want your co-working space to reflect the culture of the business you are building.

Ask Yourself:
  • Is it there an open floor plan? How loud it is?
  • What desk configurations are available?
  • What kind of environment do I need for meetings with clients?
Services & Amenities

When you are looking for an apartment or house, amenities are typically at the top of the list. Your co-working list of non-negotiables should look no different. Entrepreneurship is challenging –– you need a space that makes a few things easier. DistriCT offers some fun and unique amenities like a kayak and paddleboard launch, bocce court, athletic club, and beer garden. If a must-have is lab space and/or access to other pharma and biotech startups, S*Park Innovation may be the co-working spot for you.

Ask Yourself:
  • What do I get access to?
  • What is included in my rent or membership?
  • What are my priorities –– fun or practical services?
Budget

The early days in business can be tight financially, but keep faith –– no one found remarkable success without taking a risk. Still, mind your budget when looking for a place to work. Deskcrashers welcomes newcomers to entrepreneurship with day passes and monthly membership options. And you know what, the NHFPL (New Haven Free Public Library) is... free. Beyond the books and online resources, it is an accessible place for everyone to take care of business. It has desk space, meeting rooms and, of course, free wifi; it is also fully accessible.

Ask Yourself:
  • Is there flexibility for how long and how often I use the space?
  • What are my hours compared to theirs? Can I access this space 24/7 if I need to?
  • How big of a commitment do I need to make?
Location

All co-working spaces in New Haven are located within 4.4 miles of one another and are all within walking or biking distance of downtown. The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Co-Working Concierge Service is right on the Green offering amazing views of the city.  Urban Collective, a black-owned collaborative space great for hosting events, is in one of the more residential areas of East Rock. New Haven is a mid-sized, walkable city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your commute as convenient as possible.

Ask Yourself:
  • Do I want a neighborhood location or a place downtown among other businesses?
  • Am I walking from the train or do I need to be closer to the Yale Medical School or other businesses?
  • Do I want to drive, bike or walk to my co-working space?

Whether you are starting out as a freelance writer, secured your first round of funding and looking for new recruits, or scaling up your side hustle into a full-time business, there are many options for co-working in New Haven –– each one here to help you grow.

New Haven’s CoWorking Spaces
  1. Deskcrashers
  2. DistriCT
  3. Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Co-Working Concierge Service
  4. The Grove
  5. Hub55
  6. New Haven Free Public Library
  7. Regus
  8. S*Park Innovation
  9. Urban Collective

The ECIC blog focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the New Haven community. Residents, readers, doers: share your entrepreneurial endeavor and include the hashtags #coworking #nhv for a chance to be featured on our social media page or in an upcoming post.

855SCSU BioscienceCareersForum

Historically known for its collegiate atmosphere, New Haven has more than half a dozen colleges and universities in the area - Albertus Magnus College, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut, University of New Haven, and of course, Yale University.

Today, these powerhouse institutions are helping to make New Haven known for cultivating entrepreneurship and innovation in STEM by creating new programs and collaborating with community organizations and businesses.

Here are just a few of the programs supported by the ECIC that showcase this collaborative spirit, equipping students and lifelong learners to be startup founders and workforce-ready team members:

Health Haven Hub

Bringing together medical device and digital health startups created by student teams from around the area, this new technological hub allows student entrepreneurs focused on healthcare innovation to easily access support from Bridge Innovations Accelerator, HealthVenture Labs, and Origami Innovations. It is a place to share knowledge, where student startups, from early seed to commercialization stages, can also access Yale resources and exchange industry ideas. This Hub will also open its doors to the community with healthtech-related events and workshops. With several student teams already lined up for their programs, Health Haven Hub is slated to open in June 2018 near the New Haven Green at 195 Church St.

Bioscience Careers Forum

In the sciences, a rigorous education is a vital sign. But, great careers are also made on grit and connections. The Bioscience Careers Forum at SCSU, jointly hosted by BioPath and The Jackson Lab (JAX), provides an opportunity for invaluable networking. The Forum features discussions on training needed for a bioscience career and skills employers are seeking. The latest Forum on April 27, 2018 featured JAX President and CEO, Ed Liu, M.D. as the keynote speaker, and panel discussions with representatives from Trevi Therapeutics, BioCT, and Alexion, which were attended by faculty and college students from SCSU and other institutions, industry professionals and leaders, community leaders, and New Haven education leaders and New Haven Public School high school students. Over 20 companies from the area participated in the networking session in SCSU’s new Science Building. The Forum is expected to be offered annually.

Small Instrumentation Fund

The program’s motto is, “Give us an instrument and we will produce students who know how to use it.” The Small Instrumentation Fund supports the acquisition of scientific instruments and equipment used for teaching and research at educational institutions in New Haven, such as the Bioscience Academic and Career Pathway (BioPath) Program at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). This type of hands-on, practical learning gives students the incentive to stay in the area after graduation and find jobs at local companies looking for people with this type of specific experience. The first two purchases made with this funding brought a real-time PCR thermocycler and an automated chromatography apparatus to SCSU. Both are essential instruments that are widely encountered at biotech and pharma companies.

UNH’s Digital Fabrication + MakeHaven

Digital Fabrication is a new course offered by University of New Haven’s (UNH) Department of Art and Design in partnership with MakeHaven - a gathering place workshop for makers, creators, tinkerers and dreamers. By joining forces, they have each broadened their network and pool of resources to support aspiring innovators. The course is part of UNH’s new BFA in Digital Art and Design and includes students from Art, Graphic Design, Engineering and Molecular Biology. Taught by Joseph Smolinski, the course utilizes both the UNH makerspace and MakeHaven to teach various digital design techniques and connects students to a network that engages them even after graduation.

Tsai CITY + StartupGrind New Haven

Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, TSAI CITY, is on a mission to create an inclusive, interdisciplinary learning environment for resilient risk-takers to learn new skills. To achieve this mission, they are co-sponsoring with ECIC events with StartupGrind New Haven that mixes ambitious people and ideas. The New Haven Chapter of Startup Grind is dedicated to building a community where local founders, business people, and students can support and teach one another. The events typically showcase compelling speakers who tell the personal and professional story of how they got to where they are today. Recent events featured Steve Kokinos, co-founder of Fuze, a communication platform that raised more than $30mm in funding and Susan Froshauer, the former CEO of CURE and co-founder Rib-X Pharmaceuticals.

FREE Tech Certificate Courses

Offered through the GREAT Center at Gateway Community College, New Haven residents can receive exceptional free training from local industry experts in fields like Web Development, Web Design, and now, Business Analysis. The ‘TechHire’ initiative was created and adopted by the White House in recognition of substantial growth in the technical economic sector and the surprising number of current job openings. The certificate program allows qualified students to obtain these skills at NO COST to participants who meet the qualifications.

Through collegial collaboration between colleges, universities, non-profit organizations and businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation are becoming a stronger force in our community than ever before. For more information about any of these programs, follow the links or reach out to the ECIC here.

The ECIC blog focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the New Haven community. Residents, readers, doers: share your entrepreneurial endeavor and include the hashtags #coworking #nhv for a chance to be featured on our social media page or in an upcoming post.

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