Coworking spaces have sprung up across the state, from Gravitate in Des Moines to Vault in Cedar Rapids to IC CoLab in Iowa City. David Tominsky, director of programs at the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) in Cedar Rapids, says there are at least 19 coworking spaces in Iowa right now, but he suspects there are more. Although they cater to different communities, these coworking spaces share common traits. Chief among them are community and leadership.
The Fairfield CoLab’s tagline is “Your Solution to Creative Isolation.” The beauty of it, and other coworking spaces, is that it provides a place for freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs to work alongside one another and reclaim a sense of belonging that’s often lost when one opts out of a more traditional work arrangement.
Rather than hole up in their home offices or camp out in coffee shops, CoLab members can work out of a shared professional space. This is particularly powerful in places like Fairfield, a small town surrounded by rolling farmland. The countryside may be beautiful, but it can also be isolating enough to make people consider leaving for larger cities and more opportunities.
Of course, that’s undesirable in a state that’s already grappling with low talent retention rates. Tominsky says there’s an effort underway to better track economic impact, but he’s confident that such hubs promote business development and job creation. He wants to document these instances and pitch communities on why they should invest in entrepreneurial spaces.