coLab breaks barriers on coworking

Kristin Coppens

| 3 min read

Erik Hall, coLab
In Grand Rapids, the start-up community has been consistently growing. The community support behind start-up initiatives has been increasing exponentially, as well, with businesses like Start Garden and Grid70. Another start-up making waves in the region, Grand Rapids Collaborative, or coLab for short, works to nurture that start-up mindset as a benefit to both the individual and the community.
Erik Hall, coLab
coLab is a workspace that brings together individuals starting their own tech-business by breaking down the traditional barriers of getting there.
As co-founder/owner, Erik Hall, describes, “We’re about letting people have space and opportunity to do what they want to do and pave their own way.” In turn, this opens the eyes of the community, and the rest of the state, to what people are doing and the amount of jobs being created as a result.
Hall, along with his father, started coLab with the notion of accomplishing two main goals. “We wanted to create a space and situation where there could be a cohesion of great minds working together to do great things,” says Hall. They also wanted to break down the real estate barriers for individuals who are working to just get their business off the ground, and are not able to afford the overhead of an entire building or lease.
coLab leases office space around the perimeter of the building’s interior. Then, there are conference rooms, breakout rooms, a kitchen, and communal areas available for the businesses to share time and space. The offices are different sizes as well, providing the opportunity to scale within the building as the business grows. Each lease with coLab includes utilities as well. All of these perks are thus decreasing the overhead costs for a start-up business and leaving for room for growth.
Furthermore, coLab is more than just a workspace and brick and mortar offices. Hall stresses the significance of the collaboration side of coLab and staying ahead of the game in work environments. Hall explains, “coLab offers the option of walking across the hall and getting someone’s opinion on what you’re working on; this work environment not only showcases the way in which people work nowadays, but also provides the tools necessary to nurture these ideas and bring them forward.”
Having a start-up and space like coLab in Grand Rapids provides a spotlight on small business growth that otherwise could be easily overlooked. In fact, coLab would like to also attract students from universities, like Grand Valley State University, as a support system. “Entrepreneurism can be a lonely venture, especially when you’re working alone, but a lot of tech-businesses speak the same language and are able to help one another. More and more students and young professionals are hoping to go off on their own, and we provide one avenue to make that idea a reality,” summarizes Hall.
Do you know someone who has a great business idea in your community?
Photo credit: coLab

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