Strengthening Your Community with =Space
In the heart of Newark, =Space is a supportive, lively, and diverse community of leaders in the creative and entrepreneurial landscape. Started as a way to assist unsupported and unfunded ventures, the hub seeks to provide access and resources to their community through and through. We spoke to community manager Kelly and the team to learn more.
Tell us about =Space.
Before creating =SPACE, my partners and I founded a design agency called Medina=Citi. In our 9 years of existence, we have worked with many household names and brands. This access enabled us to see the discrepancies within different fields such as tech and entrepreneurship. My fellow co-founders and I had long talks about how we can help those who are not supported, not funded, and often forgotten. We support women-founded ventures and Black & Brown startups. We accept multi-cultural founders and anyone needing a helping hand, but that is our truest mission.
=SPACE’s provides access and resources though opportunities and space. We are not just a coworking space. Our business has incubator programming that propels our start-ups to the next level. We offer office and communal space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, thought leaders, and anyone who may simply need a change of pace. We have served the community of Newark for 4 years, and we look forward to continuously providing resources to our thriving community.
As =SPACE grew and connected more with the people who used our space, we learned more about the pain points that our Space(r)s, what we call our community members, deal with on a daily basis, both in their career and within their own minds. With those things in sight, we curate events and experiences like Newark Tech Week, Woman In-Novation, and Civic Influencers. These events allow us to collaborate with Mayor Ras J. Baraka, mayor of the largest city in New Jersey, powerhouses like Nathalie Molina Nino (the Founder of Brava Investments), Senator Sandra Cunningham, Marley Dias (#1000BlackGirlBooks), and other prolific influencers from all over the U.S.
What do you enjoy best about the =Space community?
Our community members are lively, determined, and brilliant. It’s a true honor to be the first choice of so many individuals and seeing them succeed pushes our entire team to work harder. The most valuable thing about our community members is their sportsmanship. When a new person joins our space, they are welcomed into a family.
We have seen great collaborations between our Space(r)s and the projects that they develop are outstanding. Our community is rich not only in cultural diversity, but also in industry diversity. We have freelance photographers, fitness trainers, lawyers, tech writers, content developers, real-estate specialists, social media influencers, coders, and more. These are the people who make =SPACE what it is. They believe in our mission. We provide them with as many resources as we can, and they give us back support tenfold. Seeing their greatness gives me hope for the future. They are building it, and it looks grand.
Any favorite lunch and happy hour spots around the neighborhood?
Newark is one of the best places to go for any meal because we have everything. A great benefit about our location is number of eatery options. No more than 50 feet from us is Smitty & Mo’s, which in my opinion, is one of the best places in Newark. Their baked and fried chicken have people literally lining up out the door. Michael Vann, the owner, is a phenomenal chef and the strategic mind behind the national success of Harlem’s famous Amy Ruth’s.
If you want to enjoy a drink with a few pals and an eclectic/rustic view, 27 Mix is the place to visit. The ambiance of the space is definitely Brooklyn, so it reminds me of home, but with less beanies— haha!
What are some exciting, new changes for =Space? Can you tell us about your new space?
=SPACE recently acquired 2,000 sq.ft. of space. We have new conference rooms for meetings on the larger side, digitally-enabled classrooms for those seeking to host seminars and coding classes, and a brand new podcast studio.
We are moving forward with a renewed focus in mind, turning =SPACE into an easily recognizable and loved brand. Our partners list is exponentially growing and allows us to format an experience for Space(r)s that is noteworthy and fitting for their personal businesses.
What do you think sets =Space apart in coworking?
Early on in =SPACE’s life, my partners and I decided to do one thing, not focus on trend-setting. It is common in this field for people to want to be “the next big thing” or “the outlier” but logically speaking, if everyone is trying to be different, then no one is different. =SPACE is not focused on setting ourselves apart from coworking spaces, we want to collaborate more with other spaces and build a network. Our true aspirations are supporting women ventures, Black & Brown startups, the people that work the hardest and receive the least.
What can we expect from =SPACE this year?
Our plans for 2019 are very simple, more partnerships, improving our space and improving our resources for the people who make =SPACE great - our members.