Sharing Space and Ambition (non-trad careers)

Happy Pi Day! Yes, March 14 (3/14) is International Pi Day and I wanted to take the time to tell you a little about how not only individuals, but businesses are part of the sharing community.

I was honored to attend the grand opening of a new business incubator in my town called Pi, short for Partnership for Innovation. Business incubators allow fledgling businesses to get mentored support, if needed, during those critical early years. More importantly, incubators let them share space, and therefore expense with other businesses.

Business incubators are popping up all over the country, usually in unexpected or blighted spaces – in this case, the second story of an old ┬ásilk mill. Eight private office spaces share 2,000 square feet which includes a conference room, kitchenette, lounge and small “conversation rooms” for one-on-one meetings. These shared common spaces not only ease business expense, but encourage businesses – often with only a handful of employees – to interact with one another. They increase the chances of serendipity and can help all businesses grow.

Many business incubators are technology heavy – with workers needing little more than some space, a computer and some wifi, and the tenants of Pi are no exception. The largest business – Viddler – provides video hosting services in a more professional environment than YouTube.

I love business incubators not only because they are good for business but they are good for the community. We are very fortunate here in Bethlehem, Pa. that this is the third incubator to call the city home. With each new business, there are more jobs, and taxes to the city. Equally important these innovative businesses attract diverse people from across the country, and help keep well-trained hometown heroes here. The location of this incubator adds even more diversity to an increasingly vibrant neighborhood, that even a few years ago wasn’t much to look at. Now the incubator, along with other major anchors like a community college and an arts and entertainment complex, people are everywhere and small businesses are thriving. It’s wonderful to see.

Do you have a business incubator in your city?

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