A new organization that provides office space in Greenwood to start-up businesses and people in need of a place to work is getting a boost from taxpayers to help it grow.
Greenhouse, a co-working space that resulted as a collaboration between the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and city officials, first began accepting members about a month ago, using space at Tilson HR for free through April. Greenhouse signed on six members in October, passing its goal of five memberships in the first month, said Laura Kennedy, who is serving as an unpaid executive director for the non-profit organization.
Members include the owner of a local fitness business, a high school teacher and a photographer, Kennedy said. Each are paying a $250 fee that covers their membership through April.
The Greenwood Economic Development Commission unanimously approved giving nearly $10,000 to Greenhouse, which will be used purchase items such as furniture, software and signs. Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said the city is starting to search for a building to purchase as a permanent home for the organization. How much the city would spend and where the money would come from hasn’t been decided.
Eventually, the goal is for Greenhouse to sustain its operations through paid memberships and sponsorships from businesses and other organizations, Kennedy said. But the organization needs money now for equipment while it works to become self-sustaining, she said.
Greenhouse is also working with a college to get its first major sponsorship, she said. Officials wouldn’t say which college it may partner with, but that the college could eventually offer classes aimed at entrepreneurs at Greenhouse.
Economic development commission member Don Cummings said his hope for Greenhouse is that entrepreneurs who get their start through the co-working space will grow their businesses and stay in Greenwood.
With more than 40 co-working spaces already set up in central Indiana, a co-working space had been a key asset that Greenwood was lacking for economic development, Myers said. He envisions the co-working space as an eventual pipeline of new businesses that could grow and choose to remain in Greenwood.
Greenhouse is the first co-working space to open in Johnson County. Franklin officials are working to get the city its own co-working space as well, but are still working to determine how much financial assistance the city will provide.
Tilson HR, a company owned by Greenwood Redevelopment Commission President Brent Tilson, offered to provide up to 9,000 square feet of office space to Greenhouse for free through April, and is also covering the cost of utilities at the site.
The goal is for Greenhouse to eventually have enough funding that it will be able to hire a full-time, paid executive director late next year, Kennedy said.
What: Greenwood’s co-working space for entrepreneurs or other business owners who need a place to work
Where: Located until April in the Tilson HR building at 1530 American Way, Suite 200
Membership costs: $250 fee covers membership through April
How to get involved: Send an email to Laura@GreenhouseJoCo.com