Imagine this: You are the solopreneur of the BVI’s newest startup, or perhaps the owner of an established small business. But your working hours are primarily spent in isolation, because every dime you have goes back into your company. You could rent an office space—and get a business phone line, high speed internet and the requisite office furniture and equipment.
What if you had a place to go that provided all those necessities and a group of people who are working on their own entrepreneurial endeavors? People who are experiencing the same growing pains you’re having and are ready to listen and share new ideas with? And you could do it at a very affordable rate?
That is called coworking. And it is coming to the BVI.
Until now, the BVI were coworking’s flyover islands. That all changes on October 1st, when the Forge BVI opens its doors at Pier Park and Pockwood Pond, Tortola, BVI . It’s an exciting time for business owners who are looking to take their companies to higher levels of success.
Charisse Bowen, Director of Entrepreneurial Development for the Forge BVI, settles back in her chair with a smile. Coworking is one of her favorite topics and entrepreneurism is in her DNA.
“I’m excited to bring coworking to the Caribbean,” she says. Charisse was instrumental in bringing Galvanize, another coworking and business training facility, to Fort Collins, Colorado. “I’ve watched [owners of] startup companies gain strength, support, and courage based on the layers of influence they receive from being in close proximity to other entrepreneurs. It’s very powerful.”
Director of Entrepreneurial Development, Forge BVI
After watching “the magic” of coworking in action, she believes the BVI is ready for it. “We have all the right ingredients for the recipe, we just didn’t have the oven,” Charisse explains. She’s seen the spirit of coworking in more social aspects of BVI culture—in churches and neighborhoods where the that type of support and collaboration come naturally. The Forge BVI extends this spirit into the business community
Bouncing ideas off one another, sharing mistakes, providing feedback—it’s all part of the coworking experience. It’s also one of coworking’s aspects that makes it so valuable. “Engaging in these conversations that just spring up naturally provides a forum that leads to the next idea and the next one after that,” Charisse states. “Sometimes it’s hard to share the concept you’ve developed because you’re afraid it’s going to get shot down, or taken, or not looked favorable upon…but I really want to take that apart and encourage entrepreneurs to put their early ideas out there and let the community help shape it.”
When a product or service is ready for prime time, it will bear the fingerprints of everyone who contributed a suggestion or listened to a frustration during development. Even before it’s launched, the concept has a host of excited people behind it, who watched it grow.
Varying levels of monthly memberships to the Forge are available. Membership indeed has its privileges and includes benefits such as 24 hour access to the Forge, a private phone booth, mail service, internet access, HD projectors, and conference rooms.
For as little as $149 a month, an individual or business owner can connect with other members and book [I don’t know because I can’t access all the information about the different membership levels] . For those needing a more permanent and dedicated workspace, Reserved Desk memberships are available. And for those who just want to dip their toes, a $50 Day Pass can be purchased.
Business training workshops that teach the basic “block and tackle” of business, how to acquire funding (and then what to do once you’ve received it), and the best methodology to grow your company are scheduled. Bringing world class business leaders and speakers to the Forge is slated for the future.