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.)
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.
- 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?
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.
- 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.
- What do I get access to?
- What is included in my rent or membership?
- What are my priorities –– fun or practical services?
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.
- 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?
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.
- 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
- Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Co-Working Concierge Service
- The Grove
- New Haven Free Public Library
- S*Park Innovation
- 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.