Coworking spaces, the modern day Chamber of Commerce
A little more than 3 years ago, Kirby Israelson and the leadership at the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce were trying to figure out how to spice things up. They were already providing resources to their community and helping local shop owners and freelancers, but they were confronted with a newfound perception problem. The idea of interacting with a Chamber of Commerce simply didn't excite the modern professional. They were looking for something different.
That's when the team heard about a new phenomenon called coworking. A room full of freelancers, consultants, and startups coming together under one roof to benefit from a communal pool of resources. It sounded an awful lot like a Chamber of Commerce! So, they put two and two together and went ahead to form what Christina Davis, President/CEO of the LAX Coastal Chamber, calls a Facebook for business: LAX Coworking.
At first, the space was free. They simply opened up their extra office space for the community and told them to come in and check it out. Once it started to build attention (and sponsorships from local businesses!) they decided to take it one step further. A few months later and a new three-year lease freshly signed, they turned their budding seed of a space into the fully-blossomed coworking space you see today, remodeled and repainted to fit the new mold.
Today's chamber is the best voice for business in the community. It helps the little guys and big guys alike connect to politicians and advocates on their behalf. Local professionals can also discuss and decide on official chamber positions or endorsements. The chamber helps the business climate of the area succeed, too. They testify in court on behalf of members, talk to the right people in government, and help elevate business on a multitude of levels. There's fun stuff too, like ribbon cuttings and anniversary celebrations. They are the friend you go to that has all the connections in the area; your favorite community party that you always hang out with at the block party.
There's events all the time, too. Chamber President/CEO, Christina Davis, recently spoke about the LAX Coworking program at the WACE (Western Association of Chamber Executives) Conference. It was at this conference that they discovered they were no longer the only chamber to open a coworking space.. Each space faced their own challenges, though. Often times real estate can be expensive, but multiple chambers believed that if it was possible, expanding and including a coworking aspect was valuable to their members. Many were also trying to start incubators in order to give their startups resources to help them succeed. Everyone is basically trying to see what works best, understanding that it is important to reinvent yourself as a Chamber of Commerce to better follow along with the businesses you serve.
As you can see, this is the landscape that makes up the modern-day Chamber of Commerce, and LAX Coworking is proud to be a part of it. Kirby, the Creative Director at the LAX Coastal Chamber, is the Manager for LAX Coworking and works hard to make sure all of her LAX Coworkers have what they need to succeed. Whether it’s events, communications, or design, she, and the chamber team, are here to elevate your business and pave the way for other chambers. Stop by sometime!