Working space, collaboration, resources and community are all vital to any new startup. However, these can be hard to come by and hard to afford when a young business is just starting.
In answer to these needs, a new public/private coalition of successful business owners, city officials, educators and resource providers are joining forces to create Outlier Labs.
This network of mentors, resources, and a co-working space will be available to entrepreneurs in Southern Utah starting this week. A launch party for the space is planned for November 1, 2013. The event will begin at noon at the Business Resource Center (BRC), University Plaza, Building C at 1071 E. 100 S. in St. George. The public, especially aspiring entrepreneurs, is invited to attend and see what resources are available to them.
Jill Elliss, Executive Director of the BRC and USTAR South is excited for people to see the space. “We have so much to offer entrepreneurs,” she said. “They really need to come and check out the space and see for themselves just how much this can change the game for them.”
Ever Gonzalez, founder and CEO of both Capital Freight Management and Outlier Magazine, said the goal of Outlier Labs is to help nurture home-grown businesses, as well as attract outside talent into the area. “We will help create opportunities for entrepreneurs to network and share ideas,” he said. “We’ll also spotlight new startups that are trying to attract attention from the business and investor communities.”
The main functions of the Outlier Labs include offering working space that includes office space, conference rooms, class rooms and a lounge which also acts as collaborative space. By bringing different entrepreneurs together in one location, there is a sense of community and the opportunity for collaboration. A company can take advantage of the Labs for $50 a month.
Each month, Outlier Labs will be hosting workshops where entrepreneurs will be able to network and hear from successful business owners from St George, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Outlier Labs will also act as a connector for local entrepreneurs, allowing them to tap into resources from other organizations such as the City of St. George, the BRC, Dixie State University, The Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative and Corporate Alliance.
Ellis feels this is the perfect example of how the public/private partnership can benefit the public. By locating in the BRC, services and mentors are available when they are needed most.
She also feels the Outlier Labs are the next logical step in growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Southern Utah. “We believe the synergy and collaboration happening in the Labs will draw out and energize people with good ideas,” she said. “The ultimate goal is job creation and economic development.”
The Labs are part of the Outlier family which began with Outlier Magazine, an online publication geared toward the dynamic community of startups and entrepreneurs. The magazine offers a forum for entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate, be mentored, and to share the experiences of creating and growing a company. The name for the space was actually pulled from the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book entrepreneurs are identified “Outliers” or people outside of normal experience who are able to accomplish amazing things.
“Our goal is to create a coalition of entrepreneurs, startups, business owners, city officials, educators, and investors dedicated to giving back to the community through job creation, training, and education,” Gonzalez said.