Lowcountry Local First – a Charleston nonprofit that supports local, independent businesses and local goods – is giving entrepreneurs a new place to collaborate with its recent opening of Local Works – an open sector coworking space located in the creative corridor at 1630-2 Meeting Street in Charleston.
Local Works fills a much-needed niche in Charleston’s burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem. More and more entrepreneurs are breaking free from their home offices and coffee shops to seek professional, collaborative, yet still affordable environments that foster interaction with other professionals.
“We are putting entrepreneurs together and giving them a space to thrive and collaborate, “ says Local Works Marketing and Communications Director, Misty Lister. “We want their businesses to grow without paying an insanely amount of rent. This is a growing side of town where many business are moving up to this area. We see that as a huge opportunity.“
The 3,000 square foot facility consists of 2 private offices, 24 full-time spaces and numerous part-time opportunities. Additionally, the space will hold a conference room, small meeting room, two phone booths, a kitchen with full amenities, and lounge area and breakout space. The facility also features a green roof to cut down energy costs.
Local Works was created using Lowcountry Local First’s buy-local approach by sourcing local craftsmen and materials to develop the facility. “By going local, we are helping local businesses succeed,” says Lister.
The coworking space gives tenants an opportunity for engagement and growth through member-hosted events, marketing tutorials, connecting to capital/funding, meet-up groups, and other networking opportunities. Ongoing services will also be offered such as business mentor pairing, face-time with successful entrepreneurs for Q&A/brainstorming sessions, workshops, and easy collaboration. By connecting businesses with varying specialties and focuses, Local Works will create a community ripe for partnerships.
“It is vital that entrepreneurs spend a majority of their time on the important things regarding their business, especially in the start-up stages, says Lowcountry Local First Community Manager, Larry Downey. “When you can reach across the desk and ask someone who specializes in marketing or accounting a question, without having to spend hours on research, it allows you to stay focused on your mission. We are creating a community of businesses that want to work together and help each other succeed!”
To be accepted as a tenant at Local Works, applicants must be a local owned business or local entrepreneur. Part-time and full-time spaces are still available. Applicants can apply for membership on the Local Works website. Current members include entrepreneurs in the tech, creative, and restaurant sectors.
Local Works will be run as a non-profit center with public and private supporters including the City of Charleston, Community Loan Fund and a recent award by the SC Department of Commerce’s Innovation Fund.
“In launching Local Works we are supporting the mission of Lowcountry Local First. We started the collaborative process from the beginning by engaging a local architect, craftsmen, local business purveyors, artisans and technicians,” says Lowcountry Local First Executive Director, Jamee Haley. “We have made a concerted effort to show the business community how to localize their businesses.”
Local Works will be offering a free coworking day to check out the new space on August 29.