URGED discusses co-working space for entrepreneurs

MONTE VISTA — On Tuesday, July 11, the Upper Rio Grande economic Development meeting opened with an update from Executive Director Andrea Oaks-Jaramillo who reported on the recent Entrepreneur Summit held at Adams State University in partnership with Downtown Colorado Inc.

The summit was focused on providing education and resources to upcoming and current entrepreneurs in the San Luis Valley and generated a conversation for potential co-workforce facilities throughout the Valley.

According to Oaks-Jaramillo, there is a co-working facility in Alamosa that has been successful, and she would like to see something similar on the western part of the Valley in possibly several locations throughout Rio Grande County. 

“The summit really helped stir conversations about co-working spaces and helping our entrepreneurs and small businesses. They were focusing on Center and San Luis at this point, but they were really good about including us in the upper Rio Grande so that we can really start to look at implementing some of these strategies,” said Oaks-Jaramillo.

Oaks-Jaramillo continued to say that co-working spaces were beginning to take off in several places throughout the state and beyond. Rifle had an old department store building remodeled to offer office space for singular or group entrepreneurs that just needed a location to do business and to access resources and educational tools.

Oaks-Jaramillo used restaurant entrepreneurs as another example. These -co-working spaces could provide professional cooking kitchens to help start-up businesses in need of a place to cook for catering or other needs.

“We are talking about what a co-working space might look like and how it can benefit the business community,” she said. 

Though the concept is only in the beginning planning stages, Oaks-Jaramillo said that she is seeking funding avenues and looking to create a new job which would include management of the co-working facility.

“We are really talking about what this would look like in creating a co-working space and in terms of sustainability. Having a space where our entrepreneurs come in, have the resources and tools they need to succeed,” she said.

Through discussions with the URGED board, Oaks-Jaramillo will pursue the project and more will be reported as it becomes available.

Mark Madic, director of Startup Colorado, was the keynote speaker during the July meeting for the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development board on Tuesday. Startup Colorado is a networking platform that provides resources and educational tools to rural entrepreneurs and startup businesses throughout Colorado.