Why Women Thrive in a Female Focused Coworking Space
Today’s world has welcomed the sharing economy with open arms. As part of this movement, shared workspaces (coworking spaces) have become widely popular and are now a well-known alternative to traditional office space. With many of the 40 million Americans, who are classified as “independent workers” (freelancers, contractors, and entrepreneurs) working from home, it’s no surprise these spaces are becoming a more permanent fixture. While coworking spaces are tremendous resources for independent workers, the culture growing along with them often mirrors the familiar “Boys’ Club”, complete with beer kegs and ping-pong tables; an old world hiding behind modern furniture and concrete floors.
Given that women have been consistently launching businesses at nearly twice the rate of men for the last decade, it’s important to recognize the unique needs of this market segment . Many female startups cite the need for mentoring and collaboration from people they can identify with. Women also tend to value an environment that is warm and welcoming, one which truly fosters connection, since entrepreneurship can be a lonely road.
[Related: Yes, Co-Working Spaces Can Work For You]
To the rescue, a few have led the charge to create female-focused coworking spaces to deliberately foster a supportive environment for professional women. These workspaces are popping up throughout the nation: The Wing in New York, Rise Collaborative Workspace in St. Louis, The Riveter in Seattle, The Hivery in the the Bay Area, and Hera Hub with multiple locations in the U.S. and Sweden. Each were created to support the female-centric environment that resists the “Mad Men” feel of many of the shared office spaces. Having access to a coworking space which provides a strong sense of community and additional educational resources has been a pillar of both Hera Hub and the other spaces like it throughout the world.
Recently we asked members of Hera Hub to participate in a survey about why their coworking space facilitates such a positive environment for women business owners.
Hera Hub member Lyndell Werling stated,
Members are encouraged to take risks, unconditionally respectful of each other, willing to assist each other with business objectives and questions, as well as give back to the community through hosting workshops and sharing their domain knowledge. Women tend to appreciate and crave this type of learning environment and want to feel safe and empowered in their workspace as they grow their careers and businesses.
Another member, Rielee Rey, added,
“Throughout my career, I have always received a special kind of support from female managers, sponsors, mentors and colleagues. I have grown a strong belief in the concept of ‘sisterhood.’ ...Being a young entrepreneur, what I most need is encouragement, inspiration and nurturing - qualities that I personally appreciate from other members at Hera Hub.”
April Harter Enriquez, founder of WordPop PR, says,
I was most drawn to Hera Hub's educational programming. One of the first activities I participated in was an intensive business planning workshop, which created a comfortable and open-minded space for us to share business challenges and goals, while teaching us to draft a five-year business plan and to think big – ‘10X’ big. The environment was nurturing, but not soft.
Recognizing that entrepreneurs sometimes need an accountability boost, Hera Hub offers numerous structured programs throughout the year. For instance, over this past summer, Hera Hub hosted a special writing challenge. Interested members came together on a weekly basis for eight weeks. Facilitated by several professional content developers in the community, each member outlined their goals for writing, whether it be for blog posts, articles or other content, and committed to the group. At the end of the challenge, those who showed up every week and met her goals received an incentive, such as a monetary credit towards one of the intensive business acceleration workshops.
Female-focused spaces are often challenged… but given the recent news of rampant sexual harassment in many industries and at many levels, a space designed for and by women is attractive to many. Women often get further, faster when they are surrounded by other inspiring women, in a judgment free environment, that not only encourages vulnerability but also challenges them to grow. Each Hera Hub space is thoughtfully developed to create a safe, pleasant environment that gives women a sense of ownership over their space and their community. The business acceleration programs greatly foster and stimulate professional growth, mentorship, collaboration and productivity.
If you don’t have a female-focused workspace in your city, consider starting one. Learn more at www.HeraHub.com/Expansion.
Felena Hanson is the founder of Hera Hub, a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs and author of Flight Club - Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business, which provides tools and resources to women in every stage of launching their business. For more information, please visit, www.herahub.com and connect with Felena on Twitter, @felenahanson.
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Coworking spaces for women
Felena is the founder of Hera Hub, a coworking space and business accelerator where entrepreneurial women can create and collaborate in a professional, productive, spa-like environment. The platform provides its members with connections to other business experts, access to educational workshops, and visibility within the community... thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous. Hera Hub has received national media attention from publications such as Inc Magazine, BBC, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, Mashable, and... Continue Reading
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