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White Paper provides roadmap for how to create a coworking space

Coworking movement gains momentum in Vermont



A new white paper published by the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) confirms the existence of a budding coworking movement underway in Vermont. Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide provides specific recommendations for how to build shared work places for Vermont's growing creative workforce who increasingly work remotely and independently.
Written by Lars Hasselblad Torres, founder of Montpelier's popular coworking cooperative Local 64, the report offers step-by-step instructions on how to explore, execute and launch a successful coworking hub, based in part on how Local 64 was developed in Montpelier.

Local 64 launched in June 2012 and now has nearly 40 members across a range of disciplines. In addition to providing a dynamic work environment, Local 64 also offers weekly programs for members and the public that include guest lectures, art openings, social mixers, and business pitch events like the popular "Pitch Kitchen" series.


"After years of working out of homes, in coffee shops, and in rented, often isolated offices, coworking has emerged as a new workplace model that caters to the habits, culture, and lifestyle of the independent worker," said VCET President David Bradbury. "Lars has articulated an excellent, easy to follow model that has great potential to revitalize Vermont downtowns and community centers, and create opportunities for real collaboration among entrepreneurs.

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The coworking movement aims to bring together diverse communities of creatives and entrepreneurs into common workspaces, providing opportunities to share resources, build partnerships and peer networks, and break the isolation of working alone.


"What we found is that there is a huge need out there, and an enormous interest in creating collaborative and dynamic working environments," said Torres. "After opening less than a year ago, we have already expanded our space in Montpelier."


"VCET and Local 64 are aware of at least six other Vermont communities who have expressed an interest in creating coworking spaces, but they need help and guidance on how to approach it," said Bradbury. "We see a real opportunity to share best practices, share resources and ultimately create a statewide network of coworking communities."


Coworking spaces now number more than 500 in the U.S. and more than 1,300 around the world. There are currently five coworking spaces in Vermont: Office Squared and The West Collective in Burlington, Local 64 in Montpelier, The Bridge in Brattleboro, and Bennington's Print Room.


Given the right set of circumstances, where local cultures of entrepreneurship and independent artistry thrive, coworking is a proven business model that can strengthen Vermont communities and promote economic development. Vermont is ripe for coworking to expand due to a range of factors including its small communities, high population of creative and technical workers, and entrepreneurial ethos.


"These types of spaces are a great way to enable the expansion of the creative economy statewide," said Pat Moulton Powden of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. "Lars has written an excellent "how to" guide to help entrepreneurs get these started in our downtowns. We are pursuing such a center for the Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro and this document has been very helpful thus far," she added.


Moulton Powden said that Brattleboro Development would work with Vermont's Regional Economic Development Corporations to promote the coworking plan and to help establish more coworking sites throughout the state.


Coworking in Vermont: A Starter Guide outlines steps: researching the ideal community, location and types of shared environments; how to create a coworking business plan; exploring various membership structures; the importance of branding; and how to secure startup funding.
The white paper is available for download at www.local64.com/coworking.


About Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET): VCET is technology firm incubation program serving all of Vermont to help create next- generation jobs for this generation of Vermonters. Select, high-opportunity firms and entrepreneurs receive substantive business mentoring, flexible office space, shared resources, capital formation assistance, workshops, and access to VCET's proprietary "talent cloud" of mentors, executives, venture capital investors, and economic development partners.

Since 2008, VCET has directly assisted over 500 startups and entrepreneurs across Vermont. VCET's portfolio companies have raised over $50 million in capital since then.


About Local 64: Local 64 is a coworking hub and creativity incubator located on the second floor of 5 State Street in downtown Montpelier. Local 64 offers a flexible, tiered membership structure that makes our services accessible and affordable. For more information visit www.local64.com.