Greenwood site to be part of network

A co-working space set to open in Greenwood this fall will become part of a statewide network of locations meant to spur entrepreneurship in communities.

The co-working space, to be named Greenhouse, will be operated as a non-profit, with the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and city officials collaborating to get it started. Laura Kennedy, the owner of Tilt Up Media and a member of the Greenwood Park Board, will be serving as an unpaid executive director.

Co-working spaces, which have become increasingly popular in central Indiana, offer affordable work spaces for entrepreneurs starting their business, itinerant workers who need a desk and wireless internet for the day, and small businesses that need a place to operate from other than home. Indiana Coworking Passport, a network of co-working spaces across the state, has more than 40 members, with locations across central Indiana, but none so far in Johnson County.

Now, several Greenwood city leaders are preparing to start one of the first co-working spaces in Johnson County. Franklin also has found a location and is moving to open a co-working space by the end of the year.

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Funding for the co-working space will come from membership fees and sponsorships. The funding of the operation is also set to be discussed at a Greenwood Economic Development Commission meeting next week.

Brent Tilson, who owns Tilson HR and serves as the president of the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission, is temporarily donating 9,000 square feet of space at his business’ headquarters near Main Street and Interstate 65. Greenhouse will be able to use the space until April, at which point the non-profit will need to find a permanent location.

Providing assistance to entrepreneurs who could eventually grow their business into a permanent fixture in Greenwood is essential to the city’s economic development plans, he said.

“It is an important part of a community to have the environment to encourage entrepreneurship,” Tilson said.

Tilson, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers, and Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President Christian Maslowski have begun the fundraising effort for Greenhouse, contacting businesses to see if they would be interesting in sponsoring Greenhouse. While a specific goal hasn’t been set, the amount of money that is raised will determine how quickly Greenhouse is able to grow, Kennedy said.

When Greenhouse will rent or purchase its own space next year will depend on the number of members and sponsorships it receives, Kennedy said.

The cost of a membership hasn’t been determined yet but would be comparable with other co-working spaces in Indiana, Kennedy said.  The Fish Tank, a co-space in Columbus, has fees ranging from $10 for one day to full memberships of $100 per month. Launch Fishers offers a one-year membership for $750.

At Greenhouse’s location at Tilson HR, members will have access to work desks, wireless internet, a shared kitchen, and conference and meeting rooms will be available by reservation, Kennedy said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.